The project of bedroom-mastermind Marcus Mclaughlin, Bleu, has entranced St. John’s with a unique brand of ambient rock that treks through a range of melodic stylings.
His latest offering, It Comes in Waves, is a melting pot with the lid on. Here, Marcus has carefully constructed a subdued melancholic ride that stretches the limits of its lo-fi charm. Atmospheric and exceedingly grand, it’s complimented by low key hooks and a breezy, laid-back vibe. It’s a testament to consistency; the album’s strength lies in how the variety of songs manage to meld into a sound all its own.
That steadiness can be attributed to Mclaughlin’s personal stake in the process. While his live show consists of a very capable backing band, for him, recording is a solitary endeavor.
“I recorded the drums in our rehearsal space which is on the other side of my bedroom wall. So all instruments/vocals were done between those two spaces, by me. It makes the finished product feel a lot more personal too because I can add or take away any amount of layers from the song without stepping on any toes or anything.”
Outside of that holistic creative control, Bleu’s sound comes from the constraints of his recording setup. “I can hear the audio-snobs chuckling in my head at the setup I have,” he muses. “Working within some form of limitation tends to really push your creativity to new levels.”
It is that very creativity that is on full display throughout the 8 songs, taking full advantage of the sonic confines and using those barriers to hone in and craft pieces that are intensely focused, yet diverse. The album has everything from soft and lush transitions to poppy indie rockers that harken to Built to Spill.
“Killing Time,” one of the standouts, has a McCartney-esque whimsy to it. Underneath a bedroom sound dripping with reverb lies a real penchant for musical exploration, something that Marcus and the band have already taken on the road to share.
He plans to do it again soon, saying that they’ll “…also be doing a small stint around Atlantic Canada in the coming months, to tie us over until summer.” It’s a bright future for a project with such a bright feel. It Comes in Waves demonstrates real creativity in a town which is fueled by it. A real St. John’s gem.