There's a few inferences to draw from the title of this debut album from 30-year-old Californian Matthew Hemerlein - the coolness and sadness of the colour blue, and a cinematic aspect is hinted at, but then there's also the adult film reference.
And perhaps somewhat surprisingly they all seem to apply. There's a melancholy to many of the tracks, lyrically and musically; the arrangements are an ambitious and mostly successful blend of dramatic electronica and orchestral layers, and there are suggestions of something dark, debauched, and lustful.
Classically trained (piano, cello, bass, guitar, and violin are among his talents), Hemerlein has a deft touch with adding his plucked strings and piano riffs to the electro-ambient-pop palette which ranges in inspiration from glitchy hip hop to folk - #88 seems to be his most coherent, elegant combination of these ideas. The only problem is that he occasionally strays into indulgence. Animal Urges has so much potential as a hit track, but could do with a little editing, and Look Away is similar.
Reportedly recorded all over the world, from Maryland to Cambodia, Iceland to Bali, and assembled at Capitol Studios with Francois Tetaz (Australian producer who has worked with both Gotye and Kimbra), it's easy to see how Hemerlein might've found it difficult to cut things out - all aspects will have some particular memory or significance to him, but unfortunately they don't necessarily add much for the listener. Still, there's plenty to please the ears here, and the covers of German girl-duo BOY's track Boris, and Grease's You're The One That I Want are unexpectedly compelling. And Lorde handpicked him to tour the US with her, so you can expect to hear a lot more from him yet.
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Dark, occasionally indulgent electro-pop debut.