Consumer Guide Album
Mal Blum: Pity Boy [Don Giovanni, 2019]
The nonbinary, transgender, "they"-favoring Blum sports not just a first name that suits this preference but quite often a voice: delivered in a mellow, conversational middle register, "Did you sweat through your sheets last night/Or did you bleach the blood out of them?" evokes a high school senior working on his cool no less than a short-haired coed who rocks loose tops. Usefully and also attractively, this extends the human ambit of the depressive struggles this guitars-bass-drums band chronicles: "I hate the grass/I hate the trees/The way my hair blows in the breeze/Whatever isn't cruel to me" or "What if I see you on the block/I won't stop/I won't/I won't/I won't." On and off meds and saddled with commitment issues, at least in song, they make these anxieties seem ordinary enough to be relevant rather than so commonplace they're cliches.