Pip Blom – Boat
Both familiar and authentic, Pip Blom's debut album Boat is a triumph; when you have a melodic impulse that shines as brightly as this, you can’t really go wrong
Music snobs tend to deride the pop song as non-art; throwaway and unimaginative. To some, the notion of the perfect pop song is an ultimately doomed ambition. Yet it’s deceptively complex, and – particularly in a modern context – surprisingly difficult to get right. You could argue that it’s the easiest thing in the world to make experimental music, for instance, but it takes a special kind of artistry to write an enduring, three-minute pop song.
Amsterdam’s Pip Blom is an anomaly because melody comes naturally to her. Every song on Boat is exemplary of how guitar pop can prevail. It’s pop music with conviction: it’s subtly clever, at times indignant, often vulnerable, and always ballsy. Blom’s lyrics – while very occasionally tarnished by the usual indie pop clichés – are astute and direct, honest depictions of everyday anxieties. Her influences are seemingly far-reaching, too: from the leisurely, volatile post-punk of Tinfoil to the jagged pop of Ruby, a track that soars into greatness once the chorus hits, and faintly elicits the hook-laden prowess of Pavement in their prime.
There’s exciting potential in Pip Blom, particularly as a songwriter. You could argue that there’s no new territory to explore here, though, and that it’s all been done before to the point of saturation. But it requires courage to take on a sound as pandemic as this, turn it upside down slightly and retrofit it for 2019. Boat is a triumphant debut album because it’s both familiar and authentic. And when you have a melodic impulse that shines as brightly as this, you can’t really go wrong.
Listen to: Tinfoil, Don’t Make It Difficult, Ruby