By Justin Cudahy, Staff Writer
[Dead Oceans; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Can You Deal?,” “Flipside”
Coming off the release of Welcome the Worms early last year, Bleached has maintained a presence in the pop rock scene over in SoCal. During their last tour, the press often mislabeled the group as a “girl band” which led to growing frustration from lead vocalist Jennifer Clavin. Their latest project, Can You Deal?, is a response to this misrepresentation, which comes neatly wrapped in a four-track EP.
Bleached sets the tone right from the start here paving the way for the rest of the EP with its title track, its pop rock beat mixed in with heavy bass thanks to Micayla Grace drives the song from beginning to end. Clavin has no problem telling it as it is in the chorus, singing “Yeah I’m a girl and I play in a band, can you deal?” The opener is followed by “Flipside,” a more poetic track that showcases the band’s flexibility in the punk genre, with this leaning more on the pop side. Clavin describes the song as an “ode to the nostalgia certain albums bring,” who translates that into the track’s annoyingly simple, yet very much catchy chorus, “Meet me on the flipside / Round and round make me go all night.”
The EP’s third track, “Turn to Rage,” is a more “in your face” kind of track. It revisits Clavin’s emotionally abusive relationship with her ex, an event that played a large part in the band’s sophomore LP, Welcome the Worms. Here, it’s Jessica Clavin, Jennifer’s sister, who drives the song on lead guitar with a solo that, unlike the other tracks, is very effective in maintaining the emotional aspect to the piece. The EP concludes with its final track, “Dear Trouble,” that serves as a platform for self-pity on behalf of the lead vocalist. “Poor me, I’ve been crazy all of my life,” and “Dear trouble go away” suggests a new chapter in the singer’s life while being cleansed of the past.
Not once during the EP’s 13-minute total runtime does the music ever lose momentum; In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Despite its short length, Can You Deal? still gets the message across clearly in a brazen fashion. Both fans of the band and even the punk genre should be excited to see where the band will move on from here.