Genre-bending pop masterclass


The Blood Rush Hour has a new album out, and it is appropriately titled “Who Folds First”. I say appropriately because as a listener you can take that as a question and a challenge.

Although the sound is very smooth and the multi-tracked male voices are as buttery as on any Beach Boys record, musically it is a daunting listen. This is a pop record but the further you get into it, the longer the distance seems to be to the next recognisable refrain.
Not for everyone. But if you accept the challenge and get through it from start to end – skipping of tracks explicitly forbidden – you may be on to something.

Then you listen once again.
And again.

Now, you are starting to recognise some turns and twists. You begin to appreciate the careful yet rather abrupt sequencing of songs. You are starting to hum melodies. You are even smiling wryly at the two sorely needed intermissions the band have thoughtfully included.

At one point you catch yourself by starting over from the beginning directly after a straight listen. Not very practical to do with this 16-song, 51 minute humdinger. But by now you don’t care, because you have come to accept this as one of those rare albums.

This is not a “Countdown to Ecstasy” by Steely Dan; not a “How Dare You” by 10CC; not a “Swoon” by Prefab Sprout; and not an “On Land And In the Sea” by Cardiacs. It can’t be, because then it wouldn’t be the genre-bending pop album that it is – and that all those are.

Although this is already The Blood Rush Hour’s third amazing album, I have little clue as to who the people behind the band moniker are, except that they seem to be spread out across Wales and the US. But the group is clearly the brainchild of Robert DeStefano, who has written all the songs (except for one co-write with Dan Lavery). He has produced the album and is the main lead singer on the majority of the songs.
And in my world, he is also a bona-fide superstar. Mr. DeStefano, if you read this, you are truly my hero.

So, who folds first? Are you up to the challenge?

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