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FILTER Grade: 76%

By Katrina Nattress on September 23, 2013



In 2011, Portland-based lo-fi dream poppers Blouse made their presence known with a lauded self-titled debut LP. Drum machines and synthesizers stood on the forefront of the ’80s-inspired collection, pierced only by the alto tones of singer Charlie Hilton’s unaffected voice. The group seemed to have found their bearings on their freshman effort—a rare feat—but now, two years later, the trio has redirected itself with this sophomore full-length, Imperium. By the request of band member/producer Jacob Portrait (also of Unknown Mortal Orchestra), Blouse shed their electronic component completely, opting for a more straightforward arrangement of guitar, bass and (real) drums to counterpart Hilton’s unwavering vocals. Reaching even farther back to the jangling, surf-tinged guitar work of the ’50s and ’60s as inspiration, the three-piece has created yet another charmingly melodic record. Is it groundbreaking? No, but it’s nice to see the band successfully progress.  


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