BlueScreen A Survival Guide to Mishaps and Losses

Opening their ten-song album with a dense, flowing, female-fronted alt-pop melody courtesy of vocalist Delphine Roussel, Bluescreen prove without a doubt that an indie offering can sound as clean, crisp and well-produced as anything on a major label. With comparisons to everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Lush and the Cranberries under their belt, they have a lot to live up to on Survival Guide, their second full-length, and they do it with seeming ease. Dreamy, spacey, and musically tight, it is a small wonder that Bluescreen haven’t been courted and scooped up by a label yet. The Toronto-based four-piece coax bright, catchy and ethereal tunes from their rather standard instrumentation. Some gorgeous work has also been done here in regards to layering vocals and it would not be a stretch to compare Roussel’s vocals with those of Natalie Merchant. But don’t be fooled, Bluescreen aren’t all about mellow dreamtime music, they also know when to rock it up, adding a certain edge to songs like "Something Gives” and "Add Up To Two.” A strong and surprisingly varied album, it would be difficult to call any of the tracks filler, making this my first official recommendation of 2006. And don’t you dare let the lacklustre cover art sway you away; just buy the record — if not only for the tunes but for a chance to see indie done about as right as you’ll ever see. (Independent)