Bleached – ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’

By Tom Walsh

Under the hot sticky skies of 1980s Los Angeles, as described in Brett Easton Ellis’ novel Less Than Zero, it paints a picture of the hedonistic lifestyles of young, rich college students. It is an environment of endless excesses but is ultimately a hugely vacuous and pointless existence as the characters become more and more disillusioned by what they see in this city of promise.

As the central character Clay drives along the highways to the next party or the next solo cinema outing, you can almost imagine him pressing play on the A-track and the sounds of Bleached’s ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?” filtering out. Passing the neon lights of Hollywood Boulevard the slick grooves of the trio’s latest record fit with the emotion of La-la-land.

The band’s third studio album is a tale of recent sobriety. It is an ode to sisterhood and is a brutally honest record of leaving behind the vices that played a large part in the lives of siblings Jennifer and Jessica Clavin. It almost acts as a diary of self-sabotage as they regale stories of past lives, regrets and promises to change.

‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’ is a question a lot of us have been posed at some point in our lives and the accepting tone of the album feels as if we’re sitting through Bleached’s own self-imposed intervention. However, these confessions are weaved into compelling pop songs as they depart from the gruff garage punk drawl of 2016’s ‘Welcome the Worms’.

Bleached take turns through straight-up pop songs such as ‘Somebody Dial 911’ and throw in a swaying of disco-hips in the ultra-catchy ‘Hard to Kill’. The backdrop of California is a constant feature as the Clavin sisters take us through their earlier lives. Jennifer speaks of “backyard parties where we dressed like boys”, in the nostalgia-laced ‘Valley to LA’ where “Operation Ivy was the drug of choice” and how they “wished they were punks from 1982”.

There is an autobiographical sense to ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’ as the sisters look back on aspects of their life. There is the admonishing of misguided lust in ‘Rebound City’ while ‘Awkward Phase’ offers encouragement to not be too down on their younger selves – “we made through the teen awkward phase”.

The closer of ‘Shitty Ballet’ is a rasping realisation and admittance of the struggles of quitting this life as they repeat “once I start, I don’t know how to stop”. While Easton Ellis talked about the dark side of Los Angeles and the sense of loss the kids of Less Than Zero felt, Bleached speak of letting that lifestyle go, uttering the words “I can’t go back to the way it was” in the anthemic ‘Heartbeat Away’.

Focused and driven, ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’ is Bleached at their confident best and will effortlessly slide into the stereos driving along Sunset Boulevard as the neon lights power that enigmatic city each night.

TOM WALSH

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