“Please join my cult” urges synth-pop band Blood Cultures.
The mysterious, often dark pop sounds they create may just compel you to do so. Best compared to Toro y Moi or Washed Out, Blood Cultures set themselves apart with catchy, electronic beats that drive their tunes.
Blood Cultures often play into surrealness and feelings of nostalgia; their stated goal is to “recreate the audio and imagery that they once heard, saw and felt.” And this tactic has worked in their favor. They scored performances at SXSW 2019 and now have millions of listens on their Spotify page.
But despite their growing popularity since the release of their first full album “Happy Birthday” in 2017, up until now, Blood Cultures has stuck to an ethos of elusiveness: their identity remains unknown. While first known as a single person and now recognized as a collective, the group typically performs with their faces covered by black bags.
In their most recent manifesto, they state, “We believe that disclosing our personalities, politics, alignments, intentions, orientations, etc could detach the listener further from the personal connection that they have made with the music.”
With this statement also came their latest release, “Best For You.” The song came out in June, following singles “Dunk On Me” (2018) and “Flowers For All Occasions” (2019). This latest release is their third track release since 2017 album “Happy Birthday.”
“Best For You” is exactly what you can expect from Blood Cultures. The song has compelling synths and emphasizes themes relating to the past. But while the sounds of Blood Cultures are often closer to chillwave, or contain hints of R&B, “Best For You” is very much an airy, indie, synth-pop track through and through.
What makes the song truly special is that it questions the traditional hierarchy of sounds in musical structure, blending the driving beat with vocals. The result is layered vocals that come together to share one sentiment, “I want the best for you.”
Blood Cultures feel that their music explains itself and do not offer formal explanations or backstories but it’s clear from the repetition of that line that “Best For You” is playing into a stereotypical response to departure. The song adopts an age-old trope, if you love someone, you have to let them go.
The narrator of “Best For You” sees that in the relationship he has with this person, he is not what they need him to be. The relationship is weighing both of them down. He says “When you leave here, will you see where you could go on your own?”
The narrator also calls into question their former partners intentions. Does she want what is best for him?
The lyrics overall are very much in line with Blood Cultures’ image. The song plays into memories of the past, particularly when the narrator of “Best For You” reminisces a phase in a relationship that no longer exists.
In a moving image of “Best For You” released to YouTube last Thursday, nostalgia is further reinforced by the black-and-white old film feel and hazy, cloud-covered landscape. It should come as no surprise that the concept of elusiveness is also a major piece of the visual story.
Similar to many of Blood Cultures’ tracks and visuals, “Best For You” is surrounded by dark elements. The cover art contains a hooded, masked face. And at the end of the moving image, the dreamy feel of “Best For You” is interrupted by the contrast between heavenly and hellish depictions.
The spirit of “Best For You” is just a snapshot of what fans can expect from the entirety of their upcoming album, “Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs.”
The 12 track album isn’t slated to be released until September 13 but it’s already available for pre-order on Bandcamp where viewers can see the full track list, which includes “Best For You” as well as “Dunk on Me” and “Flowers for All Occasions.”
It’s no secret the lyrics of all three single tracks surround the idea of relationships ending, making “Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs” likely an album focused on the concept of breakups of all natures: romantic, platonic and relationships somewhere in the gray.
As they approach their second album, Blood Cultures plans to remain secretive and unknown.
The sounds of Blood Cultures’ recent releases suggest their second album won’t venture far from their first. It has no need to.
The band is still fresh, growing and in the process of establishing a strong foundation for their personal brand. Listeners can expect the same striking synths beats they love the band for.
Where listeners can expect a difference is in the overarching tone. While “Happy Birthday” celebrated the past, “Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs” appears to portray an anxiety directed toward leaving behind relationships and facing change.
Regardless of what “Best For You” and, more so, “Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs,” appear to be, Blood Cultures has made clear their music is made for anyone to interpret in their own way:
“We want our listeners to find their own significance in the pieces by looking inwardly and seeking the answers within themselves rather than from us: disclosing the context of the work could shatter the individual’s distinct value of the piece that they have created for themselves… If you feel the music, you understand it, you understand us, and just like that, we are connected. Regardless of our potential differences, we are there together, in the same emotional landscape, through this music.”
More information about Blood Cultures’ September release “Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs” is expected to be revealed in the next few upcoming weeks and months, including the drop of additional music before the full album.