Labasheeda Crafts a Multilayered Musical Experience in Their Latest Album

Labasheeda’s ‘Blueprints’ is an album of stories in many layers. In the fire of rock, lies the core coal of blues. Instrumentals of brass and string all flaring in directions, heating the air, the wood, the mud. The mud takes grunge and pitch and mixes them to form dark tones. Thriving with discordant harmony and harrowing vocals. The bright flame takes the classic rock, storied and full of life, Springsteen-esque. When you mix these two flights of fire together you arrive somewhere close to ‘Blueprints.’ There is a melancholy of grunge feel, there are chords that strip bark and get rough. But above it lies a beauty of melody that whists and wallows in the flicker-light and a vocal that doesn’t stick on the dirt and the grime. There is a passion here, a hopeful and honest way of song.

The opener is a belter and it encapsulates, I think, what the album sets out to do going forward. ‘Fossils’ starts with a guitar riff. It drones, flying up notes and never-ending. It keeps steady and rolls into the rest of the instrumental which begins to wrap itself around the tone. Once the drums bite on, the song takes shape. Here is the start of the melody, and here the end. Here there lies a gap for a — ah there it is, a bass. The song flows just as you need it to, just as you want it, to keep you satisfied. In that way, this is a song of and for the soul. The strings in the back pull us away from the rockier front, the vocals tread the line in the middle. Labasheeda is playing with mirrored sounds and then singing in the no-man’s land. This function of the genre-form is what sets ‘Blueprints’ apart. Take one flame of rock, add another; dance in the distance they make between one another — have fun with opposing forces.

The rest of the album flies fast, each song has its own individuality to it, each has a flavour all its own. Songs like, ‘Closure,’ ‘Homeless,’ and ‘Minus Minus’ use pacing and tempo to hone in on their messages. Each is different, from the last. ‘Closure’ falls slower and slower, keeping you in it with the textures and melodies and their interesting shifts to slowness. A fantastic vocal performance matches this decline and we are left wanting more and more. ‘Homeless’ keeps us on the straight and narrow, it simply burrows deeper. The vocals talk, they are dry, they are tired. This song is a heart, the portrayal of a time without, a lacking of feeling. It’s so beautifully done. A skilful approach to songcraft.

Promotional photo of Labasheeda, the band behind 'Blueprints'

Promotional photo of Labasheeda, the band behind ‘Blueprints’

With so many fantastic and eye-opening songs on ‘Blueprints,’ I could sit and analyse for hours. But here’s the hook. Emotionality and rock are fused by Labasheeda through their eclectic formic deviation and profound textural control. ‘Blueprints’ becomes a mirage of feeling, a mosaic of times and spaces lived in by many and felt by all. Underpinning this fluidity of musical expression is an instrumental and vocal pairing that works in perfect synergy; a symbiosis of sound, function, and style.

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