Caroline Blind is a singer-songwriter now based in San Francisco. She first come to prominence with the band Sunshine Blind. From her tenure with Sunshine Blind, in the early 90s, Blind struck up a connection with alt band The Wake. Her version of The Wake’s “First” is uniquely her own and secures Blind’s rightful place in the goth-rock-folk-kingdom.
Blind masterfully connects with her listeners. “First” is a follow-up to her late 2019 release “Need To Say”. Her forthcoming full-length album is The Spell Between. Blind continues to cast her spell on music fans. Listeners that enjoy Rosanne Cash, The 4 Non Blondes, The Smashing Pumpkins, New Order and Joy Division. All her years of touring incessantly with the New Jersey-based Sunshine Blind band have yielded her a strong sense of human nature. She taps well into the state-of-mind in her listeners in the gravitating “First”.
“And I’m on a slow train, slow train to nowhere, I’m on a slow train, slow train to nowhere, and this how those shadows grow, inside my head, and this how those shadows go, dancing along, you’re keeping time with your cigarette, you know, you know” Blind sings. Her voice slowed, stirring to an almost dead wake calm. She sings with confidence, but also sings from the corner of the heart that has deep hurt.
The acoustic guitar is subtle. Blind also incorporates an electric guitar (The Wake’s Rich W. is on electric guitar and drum programming). The music bed to “First” is like a dark sky, with clouds brewing. The drums are very present, ominously beating in the background, but it’s the guitar riffs and the vocals that make the most noise. The song’s base seems to capture the confusion, the angst of being stuck-in-your-head. It’s so tempting and so easy for others to give advice. “Change this” or “do this” friends might say. But, the idea of being on a slow-moving train, sometimes you’re too paralyzed to make a move, or even make any decision. The ‘ghosts’ dancing in your head, the failures or insecurities of year’s past seem to mock you. You are scared, but they never go away. The idea of a ‘cigarette’ calls to mind a chemical reaction we have with people. It’s a fast surge, they get in our blood stream. Or it could also represent a poisonous reaction to another person
I think Blind carries this image in “First”. It’s a numbing reminder that we can all take the time to take the needle off the record, get off our broken record and do something different. The scariest things in life are own making – that’s what I took from this song.
Overall, “First” is another fine example of Blind’s artistic achievement. She thrives most in the soul’s turmoil, but her music shines. Blind describes The Spell Between as a “gothic love letter to some songs that inspired her throughout her career, combining covers, reworked Sunshine Blind tracks and original, new material. In choosing a song like “First” Blind plays homage to the friendship she forged with The Wake and proof she can make her own unique mark.
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