Loving You Backwards
(Ramp Local)
Add date: 8.6.2024
Release date: 8.2.2024

Apple Music

Loving You Backwards, the debut album from Blood, flourishes in the subtle, the ambiguous, the shades of gray. Blood, in the past, made huge, angry, grandiose, operatic songs. Loving You Backwards, is not that. Instead, this debut record is quieter, less reactive, but no less powerful. No less imbued with intensity, no less intricate. Fully realized. 

In winter of 2021, longtime Austin residents Blood made a fresh start, using a move into a house together in Philadelphia as a chance to reorient and spend time writing music around the clock. Although the band now is made of a different lineup, Blood circa Loving You Backwards, was made by an emotionally knit six piece. This record encompasses that first generation of Blood, the one that completely immersed itself in their newfound home in Philadelphia and dedicated themselves to the craft of losing oneself in the artform. They were able to write, rehearse, and record without interruption, and as musicians and songwriters, they progressed rapidly. As they wrote, the sound of the band began to transform.

“As an individual, I felt liberated to let the femme shades of my voice show on record for the first time and allowed my first true love for pop melodies to come to the surface,” says lyricist Tim O’Brien. This resulted from a group effort to share the burden of collective grief by holding weekly meetings to discuss mental health. As a collective, they quickly abandoned any former attachments to musical notions of punk or genre at all. They made whatever they made and rehearsed for a future show that they weren’t sure would ever come. As time went on, after the completion of Loving You Backwards, half of the band realized that they needed to leave to pursue other projects and to move onto life independently of the band. 

Today, the Blood lineup once again stands as a six piece, led by lyricist O’Brien. The record also, notably, features the band’s first major work with the producer Daniel Enrique Howard, whom the band recorded with at his studio in Brooklyn. “The catalyst of this record,” says Tim, “Was meeting Dan. When we started recording with him, it leveled up our sound immediately.” Howard helped guide Blood into this new sonic territory. Thus: Loving You Backwards is not a bedroom project, but instead a totally self-actualized studio record, somehow sounding both intimate like Liz Harris’ Grouper feels intimate and totally vast in the way that a Talk Talk record feels vast. It’s in the same universe as Ought in its earlier iterations. 

The songs on Loving You Backwards exist in the realm of ballads, heart-wrenching and weird pop with a post rock sensibility. It explores, as the title implies, approaching a relationship in the reverse, dealing with your past while you try to stay in the present. O’Brien is a self-professed bookstore gay, and his study of queer history is very much a conceptual underpinning of this record. “One Dimensional Man,” is about the idea that while sex might free us, it also can be a force that distracts us from our oppressors. “I don’t want a spare,” he sings over a wash of guitars, the thud of percussion, “I don’t want your brain to hurt.” 

Meanwhile “Bone Dry,” is significant because it was written during a paradigm shift within the band. It came together almost instantly. `There’s an immediacy to the song.”Bone dry or Heaven made,” sings O’Brien, “Have you been locked out of the game, babe?” The song is propulsive, jagged, raw and talky. It’s a delight to listen to, brimming with emotion and huge ideas. The same can be said for all of Loving You Backwards. This is a record of ideas and big honesty, but it’s also a record of genuinely pristine pop.