It takes courage to rip up the template and start afresh in the music business. There are no guarantees that people will like or appreciate the change of direction. For most people trying to make a success from their art, one chance is all you get. For Beth Jeans Houghton, that risk had to be taken. Now operating under the alias of Du Blonde, her second album copper fastens her change in direction from the wistful years of chamber pop/anti folk with which she had first made her name.
‘Lung Bread For Daddy’ sees Houghton taking control of almost everything, displaying a level of ownership in a way she hasn’t shown before. The songs, most of the musicianship (bar the drums), production, artwork, the video direction all see her take the reins.
The music across the breadth of ‘Lung Bread For Daddy’ is bold, pronounced and confident. It’s almost as if it’s a tonic to the subjects that she deals with in her lyrics. She lays her emotions bare across the twelve songs. Houghton still retains an autobiographical approach to her lyrics, with degenerating relationships remaining an underlying theme through the songs.
Underneath it all, she still maintains an ability for constructing damn catchy tunes such as Angel – 70s psych rock vibe which has the sweet spot of instant appeal and that hook to keep you coming back for repeat listens. Coffee Machine eventually builds with its brash scuzzy, guitars removing any semblance of silence.
Take Out Chicken zips along breezily in stark contrast to the start/stop guitars and echoing vocals on the opener Peach Meat, evoking menace and heft. The shift in tone between the aforementioned songs shows an impressive maturity that inhibits her music.
Vocally, Houghton, shows her versatility on ‘Lung Bread For Daddy’ – her ability to deliver tender, fragile delivery on slower songs like RBY as well as the impressive depth showcased on Acetone and Baby Talk.
If Du Blonde is a chance to show you who Beth Houghton truly is, ‘Lung Bread For Daddy’ is a success. Free from self-imposed constraints or having to placate fans of her previous music, she’s only gone and made her best album to date.