December 7 — “Paint My Face” by Bleach


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Paint My Face” by Bleach (1992, from the album Killing Time).

Bleach was a shoegaze band from Ipswich, England who were active in the early 1990s. They are not the Japanese punk band nor are they the christian rock band from the US who was active simultaneous with them. I very nearly accidentally bought an album by the christian band back in 1995, but the store clerk thankfully stopped me by saying “This isn’t what you think it is”. This Bleach released a series of EPs and just one proper album before splitting in 1993. Although they earned a fair amount of acclaim and more than their share of ink in the British indie rock press, they never caught on in the US. Near the end of their time in the sun, they signed a record deal for US distribution, but that label went under, so they never got the play in this country that they deserved.

Killing Time was one of those albums that I got almost obsessively into when I was essentially living at the radio station. I played it a lot on my show, and had to special order my own copy. Later, when they released a couple of UK-only EPs Hard and Fast, I special ordered the former. $14.90 is what I paid for that. In 1993 dollars. In 2012 dollars, that’s like $25 for a six-song EP. It’s crazy that I was happy to pay that. I certainly wouldn’t make those kinds of purchases today.

Singer Salli Carson had quite a range, and she would frequently change between airy, sweet, high-pitched dream pop-type vocals to lower, more aggressive, punk-type vocals. It’s not that I have anything against the hard-edged stuff, but when given the choice, I’ll almost always choose tenderness. Enter today’s song:

“Paint My Face” by Bleach

In a way, this reminds me of Lush. While the music is kinda dense and weighted down by the bass, the vocals defy gravity. As hard as I try to get carried off into the ether by those angelic vocals, everything else has me tethered. “Safely”, I don’t know. I just know that I can’t float away.

You really ought to enjoy this song played quite loudly in a darkened room.

Although the album is out of print, there are many copies available in the amazon store for next to nothing. Go ahead and get one.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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