By Drew Ailes
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By Tom Murphy
On the surface, writing totally objective local reviews for Westword would seem like an impossibility given the number of connections between the paper and the area scene. The two-man band called Blusom, which joins Centro-matic and the Royal We at the Larimer Lounge on Friday, September 26, is a case in point. Vocalist Mike Behrenhausen, who also drums for Maraca 5-0, briefly penned reviews for this publication, and electro-specialist Jme (aka Jaime White) previously worked here selling classified ads. As a result, the cynical among you may feel that a blurb proclaiming Blusom's debut disc one of the best to emerge from Denver during the past year would immediately be suspect. Then again, there's an easy way to prove the point: Listen to it.
That's what Dan Askew did. The founder of Kansas City's Second Nature Recordings received a copy of the album from someone friendly with Pete Lyman, who mastered it; Lyman, of L.A.'s Infrasonic Sound, played with Behrenhausen several years ago in a defunct area combo called Juhl. Askew didn't know anything about Behrenhausen or Jme, a onetime member of the much-missed Acrobat Down. He just knew he had to sign the group as soon as possible.
Good call. Slowly opens with "On Glass," a hyper-melodic shuffle about a buzz gone sour, with Behrenhausen crooning "I'm self-absorbed and shitty" so angelically that his recriminations ring with irony. Even better is "X-Photo," a moody soundscape in which Behrenhausen's mournful lyrics, Jme's treatments and the background vocals of Acrobat Down expatriate Aaron Hobbs combine to create a masterpiece of melancholy. Elsewhere, "Off of Cliffs" sails into the glorious unknown, "Versus Techno" searches for the human heart amid an ocean of blips and beeps, and "Ancient Medicine and You" feels as timeless as its title. Also present are adventurous sonic fragments such as "Kitelike Blue Paper," that stand on their own even as they enhance the sentiment at the heart of "Rusted," the concluding track. When Behrenhausen sings "God bless us, the quiet ones," he does so with an undercurrent of optimism that means more because it was so hard to come by.
Blusom started off as a side project, but it now seems to be an ongoing concern, as well it should be. Go Slowly All the Way Round the Outside is so impressive that it makes questions of objectivity completely moot.