EP Review

Bleek Noir – Here, Hold My Other Ugly Face: EP Review

As musicians find alternatives to playing live, Bleek Noir dips into the back catalogue for some acoustic imaginings.

Release date: 14th November 2020

Label: Independent

Format: DL

Back in August, we were celebrating the wonderfully bizarre Bite Thy Pigsty (review here) on the site. As the year comes to an end, Bleek Noir delves into the back catalogue to see how some of the older songs now sound given an acoustic coating and a little time to mature.

In what’s become quite a nice little catalogue of singles and EPs to draw tracks from the past few years into a new collection with the emphasis on reinterpretation. One thing you can say about Bleek Noir is that he’s never boring. Here, Hold My Other Ugly Face is proof.

It’s actually worth having a couple of tabs open on your browser (assuming we’re all listening via the usual stremaing services) to compare the new versions. The first thing, which seems obvious, is that there’s a more upfront feel to the vocal which is generally more woven into the Bleek Noir ‘sound’. It’s a sound that on the new takes is refreshingly clean. You’d normally encounter a complex intertwining of effects and instruments that create and herald the typical Bleek Noir presence, but here, there’s simply space. And a refreshing variety.

The first slap in the face comes from I Cower Too from the Crude Hissings EP. It’s taken in a Flamenco direction, possibly even involving some castanets (or at least something that makes the same sound). Here’s an exclusive listen to the track:

While you’re getting over the shock you may miss Addams Family finger clicking on Harder Love – way less frantic than the original (a double A-side release from 2017).

One from the Fresh Born Animal EP, You’d Have Been So Ashamed Of Me – sounds like a Morrissey title – is perhaps the most stripped back of the set. Just guitar, voice and a hint of percussion and the chance to appreciate how well he’s playing the guitar rather than using it to create his quivering trademark soundscape.

The original Ten Kinds Of Love on the wonderfully title Garden De Sade EP, is a fizzing number with some hyper beats. The new version veers off into a fascinating Gallic waltz. A perfect example of how a track can evolve as Don’t Stay Away (from the Throw Yourself Inside EP) takes on a more cool jazzy feel with some very subtle strings in the background.

Were he might go all Spinal Tap and ask if we like the new direction (a la Jazz Odyssey) the answer is a strong affirmative. To quote another legendary figure, Paul Hollywood – we can say “I don’t like it… (long pause)…I love it.”

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