The Blow: Paper Television

Earlier this year, Audraglint and Holocene jointly issued the superb 12-inch The Love That I Crave and, though it was credited to The Blow (Jona Bechtolt and Khaela Maricich), what really recommended the release was the involvement of remixers Strategy and Caro. The Blow's Paper Television now shows the group is just as deserving of attention in the absence of others' contributions. Partners since 2004, the duo crafts seductive and eccentric electro-pop drawn from multiple traditions (soul, new wave, and doo-wop, for starters). Opening with a “My Sharona” stab, “Pile of Gold” quickly shifts gears once the group's most distinctive element, Maricich's silky smooth voice, enters. Other highlights include “Pardon Me,” whose funky synth-pop should be bleeping out a car radios everywhere as I write, and “Parantheses,” whose ‘50s skipping beats are crowned by delectable hooks and clever lyrics (“When you're holding me / We make a pair of parantheses / There's plenty space to encase whatever weird way my mind goes / I know I'll be safe in these arms”). The songs are succinct (shades of earlier eras, Paper Television's10 songs weigh in at a svelte 30-minutes) but what also sets the duo's music apart are the unexpected details and left turns, like the lovely a cappella coda that caps “Fists Up” and the marching band snares that sweeten the funky throb of “The Long List of Girls.”

November 2006