Bleachers' album cover is a man leaning against a car in black and white.

Review: Bleachers – Bleachers


Dirty Hit
Street: 03.08
Bleachers = Bruce Springsteen x The 1975

Most people in recent times know Jack Antonoff as producer extraordinaire, behind collaborations and fan favorites from artists like Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey. He did, after all, win three Grammys in a row for Producer of The Year. 

But his band, Bleachers, has quite a musical reputation too, one that spans a decade. Their fourth album is self-titled, a nostalgic, yet modern ode to all the things that define Antonoff — suburbia Jersey-style, intricate production and of course, lots of saxophone. 

In fact, it’s safe to say the 14-track album is the band’s most romantic album to date. Perhaps because Antonoff recently got married. Take track “Alma Mater,” a stand-out on the album, which shines with sublime production that bleeds over from the prior track, “Me Before You.” It’s a surprising track all around with soft production and breathy vocals (from Antonoff and Del Rey). If there’s anyone who can make the words “alma mater” sound so good, it’s them. 

It’s followed by “Tiny Moves,” another romantic ode with an electric twang, with the opening lyrics, “The tiniest moves you make, the whole damn world shakes.” Further on in the album, there’s “Woke Up Today” that follows that theme, and “Isimo” fits the bill, too. 

There’s a sort of Mumford & Sons-esque vibe to this album, much slower than the band’s previous, “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” — an eye towards heartfelt pondering and deep reflections. Starting it with “I Am Right On Time” is a prime example of that, with lyrics like “The future’s past, I’m right on time. For once in my life , I am right on time.” 

In a way, the slowed-down pace of the album is reminiscent of the band’s earlier work. Underneath it all, you can still recognize the Bleachers roots. “Modern Girl,” an upbeat, Jersey-drenched song is the most fast-paced track. It’s zany, in a trademark Antonoff way: “I guess I’m New Jersey’s finest New Yorker.”

Another album standout is “Self Respect” which features Florence Welch on the writing credits. The lyrics alone deserve a moment: they’re weird and painfully self-aware. Vocals shine throughout the album, but particularly on “Call Me After Midnight.” 

As Bleachers grapples with capturing  the ideas of the divine, fate, serendipity — call it what you want — on this record, they also enter a new, uncharted era: unlocking a level of confidence, self-reflection and shiny-eyed belief that makes for slower tracks, but points to a sense of peace that only comes as one grows older. –Palak Jayswal

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