24 Feb 2020

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Blair Jollands - Album Review: 7 Blood

08 Aug 2018 // A review by Kris Raven
I had never heard of Blair Jollands before, and I am always open for artists I have not yet discovered that can blow my mind. When I first heard the first single 7 Blood I was not disappointed. I initially listened before reading anything about his influences or history because I wanted to hear and feel without any outside opinions. My first impression was – Hey, this guy is hugely talented! I thought how lucky we are in 2018 to have this kind of music being made. It's original and has high quality song writing with an incredible degree of musicianship throughout the album. Listed influences include Nick Cave and David Bowie. To me these guys are artists unlike anyone else and they make their own sound without limits; they are storytellers and they create real art that incorporates so many genres. Blair Jollands does this as well, and tells an artful, diverse, cool, beautiful story with a layered soundscape.

The album 7 Blood is produced by Jollands and features an impressive cast of musicians and vocalists. The singles released so far include I'll Remember You, which is a very cinematic piece and reminds me of a soundtrack to a romantic French film. Featuring an epic strings section and duel Male/Female vocals (which is a big feature throughout) which narrate the story together. The title track 7 Blood is funky, groovy, ballsy and fun. This could be the soundtrack to a spy film. The chorus is like the dramatic action piece with the 7 Blood vocal melody, funk guitar with horns carrying one of the main melodies and then the strings bringing out the theatrics. “There’s a boogie down in my brain” is what this song does when you listen, plus its hella danceable. Like every song, whether it's Blair or another singer duetting or harmonising, it's wide ranging, from gospel to a lonely crooner.

7 Blood offers a variety of themes lyrically and musically. Burning Man with the haunting lyrics “You can’t set fire to a burning man” carries a Western theme and a dark storyline. This is a standout track for me, featuring a ticking clock in the background, like a countdown to the end, and with a subtle acoustic guitar. Black Diamond is a banger. With a big bass and drums sound, sitting up the front of the mix with a super catchy sing-a-long chorus. Mojacar Moon delivers some Spanish flair with up stroke guitar, sweet horns and some percussion in the mix along with duel elevating vocal melodies.

Revelations carries an upbeat feel with a mix of acoustic and electric guitar and marching snare drum driving the rhythm. The lyrics on this track are tongue-and-cheek “Revelations come, Revelations go” with a powerful choir of a chorus and the addition of the organ adding to the overall beef of the song. Then we get to I Will Carry You, which begins with a more laid-back intro, it has a sadder feel and is a nice short and sweet track. Drifting Song really displays Blair's vocal ability with a finger picked acoustic guitar. His voice really gels with the subtle addition of strings and some smooth backing vocals. It’s how a love song should be done, and it reminds me of singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley, this is my favourite track on the album. 

The final song is Restless Soul (the most recent single) and it combines the classic harmonica and acoustic guitar combo and, making it feel like there is some pain behind the lyrics. Restless Soul is one of the quieter tracks, it has huge power with the gospel backing vocals and organ. “So, help me God, it's gonna take its toll”!

I really recommend 7 Blood to anyone looking to expand their musical repertoire. It has a great range of songs with diverse sounds and is a very well crafted, artistic album. 7 Blood is an experience to be had and enjoyed.

Review written by Kris Raven


About Blair Jollands

Blair Jollands is often compared vocally to Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright & Scott Walker, his music communicating a paradoxical mix of melancholia and optimism that draws the listener in.

Having won the admiration of both David Bowie & Boy George (who released Blair's previous material under the name El Hula on his More Protein label), Jollands has received praise from the likes of NME, Guardian, Uncut, ArtRocker and more.

Jollands will be returning to New Zealand and Australia to promote his new album plus, he is soon to be featured on the TVNZ series Dream Catchers of which he also composed the soundtrack.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Blair Jollands


7 Blood
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Half Life
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Lotus Mason
Year: 2010
Type: Album
London Sessions
Year: 2008
Type: Album

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