Local Music: Blush Club – Ornamental Ponds EP (Review)

Cover artwork for Blush Club EP Ornamental Ponds Blush Club -Ornamental Ponds EP

Kate Connor offers her thoughts on the latest offering from the Glasgow born and bred post-punk outfit, Blush Club, following the release of their second EP – Ornamental Ponds.

By Kate Connor (she/they)

Blush Club have stepped back onto the scene with their newest EP release, Ornamental Ponds. Lining up for the Glasgow-based band is Hamish Swanson on vocals, Connor Heafy and Phil Smith on guitar, Cameron Gibb on drums and Craig Carrington-Porter on bass.

Since the release of their 2021 EP, A Hill to Die On, Blush Club have really evolved musically. The sounds of A Hill to Die On still linger on Ornamental Ponds, but the new release manages to stand on its own. The title track starts the project on a lighter note than the previous record, likening itself almost to the carefree indie sounds of singles like ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Maybe Baby’.

The EP reminds me of another small independent band, though not as recent as Blush Club, The Drowners, whose blanketing grunge feel felt echoed by the track ‘Spices’.

Their repeated use of Sprechgesang (a half-singing, half-speaking style), which we also heard on the first EP, creates a really unique and interesting sound and has become something of a trademark of Blush Club.

Speaking about the effects of COVID and lockdown on their sound, vocalist Swanson said that they were “re-emerging into the world.”

“We had a whole lot more time before writing these songs, so there’s that confidence in each other that maybe we didn’t have the same way before,” Swanson added.

Discussing the influences behind the new release, guitarist Heafy said, “I was listening to quite a lot of new bands that are post punky, that shines through a lot, especially in tracks like Spices.”

The band have drawn from shared interests and influences to create a more “guitar driven post punk sound”, and this shines through in this record. The guitar is a constant comfort throughout the release, often responding well to Swanson’s deep, rounded voice, and accompanying him as he walks us around the Ornamental Pond.

The final song, ‘I’m Not an Artist’, is, in my opinion, the song that is most similar to ‘A Hill to Die On’. It has the same frustrations burning at the fringes and is more up-tempo than the rest of Ornamental Ponds.

If you want to impress a friend with a new ‘underground’ artist, Blush Club is a perfect addition to your playlists – with under 300 monthly listeners (and a local band, too!), they are definitely worth a listen.

I love that each song on this EP is unique in its own right but still has Blush Club’s fingerprints on it – “it’s our own thing,” says drummer Cameron Gibb. The songs all sound both similar and different at the same time – it’s fascinating!

Ornamental Ponds was released independently by Blush Club on September 16, 2022. You can check them out on Bandcamp here.