Halifax band bleu makes lo-fi melancholic pop music that’s ripe for summertime sadness.
A unique melancholy is wrapped up in summer’s intense heat. It’s different than the sadness that strikes in the dark, frigid winter months. Summertime sadness is more wistful. The brutal humidity forces you to slow down and because of that, there’s more time to think about the past and to dwell on regrets.
bleu, a Halifax-based band led by Marcus McLaughlin, makes lo-fi melancholic pop music that’s ripe for summertime sadness. They have released their third album, impeccably titled tropical depression, just in time for 2019’s bout. tropical depression moves in leisurely strokes and bolsters remorse. Woozy keyboard lines sprawl all over this record — wobbly keys and electronics entwine on the dozy tune “sleep” — as do frisky bass lines like on the toe-tapping “silence.” On “stay,” an album highlight, the pulse of an electronic beat comes through muted, as if being broadcasted from the bottom of a pool, while McLaughlin reminisces about the old him, sluggishly singing, “I used to go out at night. I used to not stay inside.”
All that said, there are pockets on tropical depression when bleu emerge from their listless state with a Summer of George-like attitude. Opener “fountain” has a shy confidence to it, with its bright guitar picking and McLaughlin admitting, “You know I’m wrong, but I’ve been right.” Later on “yurt,” bleu are steady on their feet and the clean guitar riff is like a cool breeze that offers temporary relief from the heat and heavy thoughts. God, the sun feels nice.