By Thalia Stopa
VANCOUVER — Earlier this year, Annie Clark (St. Vincent) made headlines for designing a female-friendly guitar. If things go as planned, Bleached sister duo Jessica and Jennifer Clavin may be next in a movement of women musicians revolutionizing the onstage experience for female rockers. In their case, the Clavin’s education in fashion design would lend itself perfectly to a line of clothing that is also, as Jessica posits, “thrash-friendly.” It’s a no-brainer for the group, rounded out by bassist Micayla Grace and drummer Nick Pillot, the sole male member. The band’s female majority is unanimous on what comes most naturally to each of them individually: performing.
With its careening guitar melodies, slightly unhinged momentum, and subtle snarl, Welcome The Worms is more conducive to thrashing than the band’s 2011 debut album, Ride Your Heart. Drug-references, tales of reckless abandonment, and self-destruction are abound on Bleached’s second LP, but the album isn’t intended to glorify these themes. Rather, it’s about “welcoming the dark side of life” along with the light. Speaking over the phone with Grace and the Clavin sisters the day after wrapping up their stint at SXSW and only hours before a show in San Antonio, the conversation steers towards juice and spa sessions rather than the deadly sugar-liquor combo of the new song “Sour Candy.”
That Welcome The Worms was the first time that the Clavin sisters involved Grace in the writing process is a testament to the trustworthiness of the band’s newest permanent member. Jennifer is far from oblivious to her possessiveness of Bleached and is honest about the fact that the aspect of making music she finds most challenging is having her writing meddled with in production. However, she is just as forthcoming to say that the new approach to writing, which was done collectively as well as alone, allowed the individual members to let out their different sides. The outcome, says Grace, represents their personal and collective growth. The hope is that eventually the band will evolve to encompass what Jessica calls a “whole band concept,” akin to The Kinks and The Beatles, with their drummer also on board with the writing duties.
If Bleached can keep on their current trajectory it seems a sure thing that whatever form their next collaboration takes on will have an exponentially greater outcome.
Bleached perform at the Biltmore Cabaret on April 28.BC, Biltmore Cabaret, Bleached, British Columbia