Blue Skies For Black Hearts began as a solo project of Pat Kearns over a decade ago, but has evolved into a Portland mainstay and touring band with five members and six albums. Throughout the band's career, they have intertwined sounds of 50's rhythms and jaunty 70's folk rock, as well as alternative rock that sprung from the 90's. It's been three years since 2011's Embracing The Modern Age, and BSFBH hasn't strayed far from their base of fuzzy, filtered, multi-generational sound on their latest self-titled album. It's a seasoned group, and they have footing in a progressive form of easy-going classic rock, however it is more complex with the band's rounded out line-up.
To self title the album seems befitting. It's a sunny blend of guitar play between rhythm and lead ("Gone On Too Long"), and anthems focused on release ("Keep On Keepin On"). But Pat Kearns's songwriting is beautifully keen and cool, with ever-clear vocal delivery. "Waiting To Run" has harmonics and crashing cymbals to eradicate self-destruction on a beautiful day. "Nothing Came In The Mail" delves into vague existence and soldiers charging compounds; like all of the songs it is embellished with a melodic solo, in this case the bands addition of keyboardist Mark Breitenbach. The last three songs play to the romantic ear: "Don't Look Back" is sexy funk and choruses, and is followed by "Love Scenes", which sings of longing and inspiration with the sweetest of guitar chords. "Back Home" is about getting back to that special someone with psychedelic undertones.
Blue Skies For Black Hearts play their album release with Spirit Lake at Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday night, 7/9. For optimal listening pleasure, make sure to grab a copy of their beautiful new black and blue vinyl. Check out the video for the album's lead single "It's Gone On Too Long" below.
- Brandy Crowe