Photo: Heather Saitz
Photo: Heather Saitz

Blessed's Circuitous Is an Unpredictable Art-Rock Odyssey

Slick and streamlined math rock sensibilities come alive on the Abbotsford quartet's latest.

by Leslie Ken Chu

Blessed’s sophomore album, Circuitous, calls to mind the Abbotsford foursome’s art-rock labelmates Women and Preoccupations, but it further evidences that Blessed are in a lane all their own. Circuitous finds Blessed expanding their winding, unpredictable psych-tinged math rock proclivities while showing off a new focus on synthesizers and MIDI sequencers.

On last year’s iii EP, Blessed experimented with spacious, breathable arrangements. Circuitous combines that spaciousness with the battering heft of their debut LP, 2019’s Salt. “Person” could pass for a Slint track; its eerie, blasted earth quietude breaks as the song erupts in a volcanic climax. Likewise, “Peeling” conjures haunting unease, calling to mind daring British outfits Black Midi and Black Country, New Road. And like them, Circuitous is explosive and unpredictable. But whereas Blessed’s UK counterparts fully indulge in cacophonous chaos, the Canadians are much slicker and more streamlined.

Each song on Circuitous, which ranges from four to nearly eight minutes, is a mini odyssey. Together, they move as a fluid whole without a dull or predictable moment between them. Tight, explosive, and stunningly inventive, with comforting warmth and awe-inspiring depth, Circuitous is an exhilarating listen from a band that continues to show consistent, remarkable artistic growth.