Published Aug 27, 2020Haley Blais knows how to be vulnerable. On Blais's debut album, Below the Salt, she captures the essence of growing up and self-doubt. Blais emerges from the uncertain times she sings about, and the anxiety of her songs are relayed with confidence. Although the album was released on Blais's 26th birthday, she assures us that she doesn't have everything figured out.
Since the release of Blais's 2018 EP, Let Yourself Go, the Vancouver-based artist has garnered listeners who are fond of her bedroom-pop songs and quirky personality. On Below the Salt, Blais levels up, giving listeners what they want, while solidifying her voice as a musician. The album, co-produced by indie-pop duo Tennis and singer-songwriter Louise Burns, is confident in its delivery.
In tandem with Blais's wispy voice, Below the Salt features bouncy piano chords, gentle guitar riffs and punchy drums that emphasize her experiences. On opening track "Someone Called While You Were Out," Blais sings about trying to live up to the idealized version of herself to a buzzing drum beat. From the Stevie Nicks-esque sound of "Firestarter" to "Be Your Own Muse"'s heartfelt sentiment and luscious instrumental on "Be Your Own Muse," Blais continues to captivate her audience with each track.
Blais' music has always been dreamy, yet her lyrics come from reality: "But waiting is no way to live a life / It only left a scar / Doubted every single part," she coos on "Ready or Not." By the final track, "So Funny," Blais accepts her flaws and laughs about them, seemingly synonymous with a sense of growth: "No missing pieces here yet I went running / But I was wrong and so I guess the joke's on me."
On Below the Salt, Blais continues to translate her relatability into melodic indie-pop songs, and proves she is anything but salty towards life. (Tiny Kingdom)