By Wally Perez
Artist: Du Blonde
Album: Lung Bread for Daddy
Release Date: Feb. 22, 2019
Beth Jean Houghton, known as Du Blonde in the music world, isn’t afraid to tell it how it is or let people into her own little world of grey; a world where sunshine is hidden behind clouds and days are filled with cold gusts of wind and rain. On her latest album, Lung Bread for Daddy, Houghton touches on a variety of struggles including heartbreak, anxiety and the general ups and downs (mostly downs) of relationships.
Released Feb. 22, 2019 and self-produced by Houghton, Lung Bread for Daddy follows her 2015 sophomore album, Welcome Back to Milk, with the same crass and unapologetic Houghton. But where Welcome Back to Milk painted a vivid portrait of escaping social norms and roles, Lung Bread for Daddy thrusts head first into an ocean of self-deprecation and finding peace with being alone. Like a diary filled with pages of dark times and darker memories, Houghton wails, drones and speaks monotonously on a variety of personal experiences with influences of psychobilly, punk, pop and goth rock sprinkled throughout.
“Pull over babe, I want out/ I got a feeling like I don’t belong to your doubts,” Houghton sings on album opener “Coffee Machine,” a slow burning homage to a relationship gone sour. Houghton’s voice haunts the space with poignant tones, reflecting on the decision to leave her significant other and not look back. It’s an ambitious choice to set the tone of a record with a track like this. The woeful lyricism is gut-wrenching at times, but the fact that most people can relate to such bumpy roads in romantic flings (and the urges to go back to them due to loneliness) is what makes it shine. It’s heartfelt and evocative in the best ways. It’s a reminder that everyone struggles with similar issues.
Houghton shifts tonal gears in the next few tracks with more guitar-driven compositions with flares of mucky synths and at times grotesque lyricism— that seems to be self-deprecating— but it’s just Houghton speaking her truths, free of embarrassment or judgement. Like in “Holiday Resort,” where Houghton bellows about her 20s and how quickly life seems to be zipping by in a blink of an eye. Deadbeat boyfriends, terrible news from her doctor, and realizing there’s still much she wants to do in her life are all shared like pages out of her diary. Houghton sings, “Spoke to my doctor/ He said I’ve passed my peak/ All my eggs are dying/ In my twenties I’m antique,” accompanied by distorted guitar.
Once again, Houghton shifts gears on the instrumentation like on “Baby Talk,” a gothic punk tune with eerie synths, grimy guitar riffs, and chilling vocals which breathes new life midway through the album. The subject matter is relatively the same—and will continue to be so throughout —with Houghton echoing previous issues in relationships and trying her damndest to get her mind off of it through distractions. But it’s the upbeat delivery in which the guitars, drums, and keys/synths that really shine: “Baby when I talk to you, I can’t take it.”
A sloppy and ever-so-familiar distorted guitar carries the melody of the following track, “Angels,” and Houghton once again speaks on a moment where one walks away from a toxic relationship and the feeling of finally being free from it all. Houghton wails, “I’m leaving the house now/ I’m locking the door/ Wondering what it was you gave it up for.”
Spurts of these upbeat instrumentations, and somber lyrics, follow with “Buddy,” which showcases a disgruntled Houghton dealing with an ex, suggesting they still remain friends. The bass driven, “Heaven Knows,” is accompanied by gloomy keys and strings. Houghton echoes, “Did you think of me/ When you washed your hands/ Of your history/ Do you feel bad/ Do you feel it all,” before the song climaxes with a barrage of fuzzy guitar riffs and background vocals.
As previously mentioned, the album is heavy on relationships, but the instrumentation suits the subject matter with an arrangement of messy guitar tones and garage-rock drums that resonate with the lyrics. Life is hard and it’s filled with highs and lows. The lows might last a long while, but eventually you grow and learn from them. Lung Bread for Daddy follows Houghton’s past and touches on not only maturity, but coming to peace with who you are, finding a comfort in loving yourself and learning to be happy with spending time alone.