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Features

blanket’s track-by-track guide to Modern Escapism

Guitarist/vocalist Simon Morgan and bassist Matthew Sheldon from blanket take us inside the creation of their new album Modern Escapism, one track at a time.

Blackpool purveyors of post-rock blanket have today (October 8) released their new album Modern Escapism, the follow-up to their 2018 debut How To Let Go. Within its waves of crushing heaviness lie moments of tenderness and quiet, harmony and calm, but forever moving like the tides. Here, guitarist/vocalist Simon Morgan and bassist Matthew Sheldon take us inside each track on the record and how they came to be.

White Noise

White Noise is an interesting one in terms of its origins – we first started experimenting with the riff that would become a motif and driving force of the track over three years ago. At that time we were exploring more post-rock and ambient avenues, and essentially dismissed this idea as too heavy for blanket. But we couldn’t get this part out of our minds as we worked on other songs which were progressively getting heavier, bringing in influences such as Converge and other alternative bands with both heavy and ambient moments. And as our new sound began to take shape, we realised this old idea was the perfect centrepiece for the new record, and a great bridge between the more atmospheric How To Let Go and the chaotic combativeness of Modern Escapism.”

Romance

With this record we decided it was time to delve into our influences that have been with us since a young age. Earlier blanket work was in many ways a departure from what we had grown up on, and we felt it was time to combine this sound with influences from more abrasive heavier bands. Nowhere on the record is this more evident that with Romance, from its ferocious beginnings to its riff-driven outro, the influence of alternative metal and post-hardcore is incredibly prevalent on this track.”

The Last Days Of The Blue Blood Harvest

Similar to White Noise, this is a song that has been thrown around in different forms for a couple of years now. In fact, it has been tried out on two separate tours, and each time with a different chorus, neither of which being the chorus that made the final record. We knew we had something with Last Days…, but it took a lot of trial and error to finally find the perfect chorus to bring the song together. Last Days… is a unique song on the record as it draws a lot of inspiration from progressive music. The diverse resonance of this piece acts as a movement from the aggression and all-out assault of the opening tracks to a more varied and hopeful sound as we move forward.”

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Firmament

Firmament is the beginning of a more symphonic section of Modern Escapism. In addition to pulling influences from heavier music, we were also inspired by melodic post-hardcore bands, these influences are evident with Firmament, but this song also feels like it could have been right at home on [2018 album] How To Let Go.”

Mighty Deep

Mighty Deep was at one time a much grander-sounding piece of music, with the whole band playing on it, but when we stepped back and took a good look at it, it was clear that if stripped back to just acoustic guitar and vocals this track could serve as an interesting interlude at the halfway point of the record.”

In Awe

In Awe is a song about loss and obsession over a return to a brighter and more hopeful time. While the lyrics appear to be about a person out of reach, it is not necessarily so literal, instead the loss could refer to a psychological state of emotion, of hope, as the world plunges further into darkness. In Awe tries to cling on to the rapture of some abstract before time’, before our aspirations were crushed, and our hearts broken by the decline of modern civilisation.”

Where The Light Takes Us

Where The Light Takes Us is our wild collision of dreamy shoegaze and manic mathcore insanity. The track really builds from a sense of dreamlike wonder to its eventual psychosomatic riff-driven finale. We pulled a lot of influence from the shoegaze world, but there’s tonally a clear influence from post-hardcore and other variants of alternative rock. This is another song that has been through a bunch of different versions, there was one point when this was an upbeat, chorus-driven shoegaze pop song, but something didn’t feel right and we had to revisit it. What we came out with has resulted in one of the best tracks on the record.”

Burial

Burial eschews our tendency for more complex structures and delivers an almost dream pop-like vocal over a sparse, dark verse, making way for a vast ocean of distortion, washing over you as a harmonised voice invites you to watch him ignite. Burial has some of our favourite moments on the record, including a middle section driven by guitar noise and drawn-out distorted bass, which builds tension for the final go around of the chorus.”

Violence

Violence is a song about lost hope and society’s violent descent into a dystopian future. Creating a sound that blends the vocal styles of Radiohead with the guitar-work of turn-of-the-century post-hardcore artists of the time, Violence begins the journey to the crescendo of the record and a descent into darkness.”

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Last Light

Just as we reach the lowest point of darkness and despair on the record, with the sorrow of Violence, Last Light attempts to end the record on a more hopeful note, with an eye to the next chapter. We took clear influence from the emo-indie stylings of bands like Death Cab For Cutie to make a return to the dreaminess of some earlier tracks, and try to give a release to the tension of much of the record up until this point.”

blanket’s new album Modern Escapism is out now via Music For Nations.

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Posted on October 8th 2021, 10:00a.m.
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