Originating from the exotic Berlin, BIINDS are a band that evolves and excels through the idea of collaboration. There is never any hesitation in bringing musicians together in order to achieve the ‘greater good’ of creating art. BIINDS self - titled début album really brings across this ideology with its carefully crafted array of diverse yet subtle instrumentation and a mixture of male and female vocalists. If it had to be described through the limitations of genre specifications, it would be a healthy mix between dark trip hop and electronica sprinkled with some ambient flakes. BIINDS was written and recorded in Berlin, Germany through These Hidden Hands.
If you are looking for music to fill up a darkened room, to stare out of a window to on a late commute or simply a soundtrack that your brain can float with, then this is very likely going to be the solution you were looking for. If you are looking for Lionel Richie, see me later and I will direct you to the appropriate song.
From start to finish, BIINDS is an exercise in restraint and timing. There are no rushed melodies or any demanding urgency to fill space up with dense instrumentation, BIINDS are quite happy to let songs breathe, a listen from start to finish provides a feeling of very pleasant passiveness; the quintessential antidote to a long day at the office.
With the ethereal vocals and bass driven nature of the album it would be incredibly easy (and lazy) to write off BIINDS as just another Massive Attack rip off. However, to label BIINDS as just another by - product of the trip hop invasion would be a huge injustice. Whilst there are similarities in their music to stellar acts such as Portishead and Massive Attack, the song writing displayed in BIINDS’ first offering has a modernity to it that makes the album very refreshing and incredibly relevant.
However, that is not to say that there are not very strong influences present in the record. With its powerful vocals tinted with frailty, irresistibly catchy melody and a gigantic electronic drum beat competing for air time, ‘The Place I dreamt of’ could easily be an extra track on Bjork’s masterpiece, ‘Homogenic’. This is, of course, a huge credit to BIINDS.
The listener is greeted with the aptly titled ‘Prelude’. A very gentle wall of noise that floats along pleasantly, warming up the listeners ears for the fantastic ‘Alpha’: With a two – minute introduction consisting of a pulsating rhythm and wandering, fuzzy electronic noises, leading onto a vocal line that is almost a spoken word piece, it is clear from the offset that BIINDS are a bit special. ‘Alpha’ effortlessly crescendos with beautiful violins interloping with electronic ambience that seems to fade in and out at will; very, very easy on the ears. It is evident that this record was created with the full intention of being listened to as a whole, each songs melts seamlessly into the next, creating the lovely feeling of the album being a large piece composed of different movements.
A real standout track is the heart wrenching ‘Maedian’. An instrumental track with swirling violins coupled with what sounds like periodic breathing and a subdued bass, ‘Maedian’ leaves as quietly as it arrives, a largely minimalist track, the beauty herein lies in its simplicity. ‘Maedian’ highlights BIINDS’ real strengths, to unequivocally draw in the listener and gently caress and soothe for the duration: A complete masterpiece.
Lead Single ‘The Pleasure of Finding Out’ is a song of real progression. Layer upon layer is added and then taken away on top of an ever rising snare, almost teasing the listener into submission, leaving them gasping in expectation of a dramatic and vibrant climax. However, the expectation is left slightly unfulfilled with a nice but slightly understated vocal harmony; a cacophony of sound would have been very much appreciated; the potential was there for the listener to leave behind a small wet patch.
It would be an understatement to label this album as being a solidly consistent piece with moments of real beauty. BIINDS have created something that emits a whole spectrum of emotions that often contradict: Happy yet sad or dark yet uplifting; hard to decipher but always undeniably gorgeous.
A decent pair of headphones are a definite recommended prerequisite for listening to this; the album is brimming with complexity that unravels slowly and satisfyingly with each listen. If their debut is anything to go by, future releases by BIINDS will be akin to gold dust.