Blunt Razors - Early Aught (Cover Artwork)

Blunt Razors

Early Aught (2020)

Deathwish, Inc

Like many great musical projects of 2020, and a few terrible ones, Blunt Razors was born out of quarantine. Gared O’Donnell and Neil Keener of Planes Mistaken For Stars opted to use this unconventional moment in time to get busy writing and recording. With some of the songs not feeling right for the PMFS brand, they released them as Blunt Razors’ debut EP, Early Aught.

Although maybe not being as big of a departure as they’d been thinking, Blunt Razor is still its own monster. Nestled somewhere between shoegaze and urban folk, these six songs (which include a contextually on-the-nose cover of Kate Bush’s “Under Ice”) are dark and palpably grim; with the lyrics, little more than sonnets, sprinkled atop delicate, intricate melodies.

Less is definitely more on the wordplay here, with Blunt Razors spreading very few lines out thinly over the course of songs which dwarf them as a whole. Which is fine; the lovelorn confessionals and puddled late night street scenes don’t need much stuffing to paint lifelike pictures. Even if your broken heart wishes they wouldn’t.

At first glance, the music may be moving too slowly to have so little vocal accompaniment (it’s still a rock record, after all), but don’t be deceived. The plentiful nuances within this fragile environment quickly dismiss any rumors of skimpiness. The instruments all have weight, and, while nobody’s expecting anything frantic, the seamless balance between them makes sure you don’t miss a single tone. No single element on a given song ever comes to a complete stop; the perpetuity bringing solace to characters teetering on the brink.

The characters are strong too, at least in form. The passing ships in “Begging Calming” are proverbial without being cliche, those two people that could be just as worse off together as they are apart. That question nearly gets answered too, by the abandoned, naked loners In “Unspoken” and “Around You”. And it’s a conflicted and regretful shell who’s pleading for one last shot on “Amber Waves”.

Early Aught arrives with painfully accurate timing. As the world around us grows bleaker by the day, Blunt Razors are not here to brighten our spirits, but to wallow right along with us. It’s a match made in hell, for sure, but one that is painstakingly crafted and wholly enjoyable.