Today, Canadian art-rock band Blessed share details of their forthcoming EP, iii. Due out February 19, 2021 on Flemish Eye, the EP’s four tracks expand on Blessed’s already-idiosyncratic vision: cavernous post-punk electronics and measured drum work pave under guitar-work that trips and sways from chiming and sunny, to serrated and snarling, to frigid and stiff.
Blessed have also released iii’s first single, “Structure.”
“Structure“ deals with complacency and failing to explore the depths of your actions compared to the words you espouse and values you proclaim to have. If you can’t acknowledge your imperfection and flaws, you don’t leave room to listen and grow. If you’re always trying to teach, you can’t be taught.
Blessed have released just one full-length record—their taut, spring-loaded 2019 debut Salt—and yet they’ve arranged themselves around a sound and aesthetic that is fully formed and potent, couched in a quiet reverence for their community in Abbotsford, a small, rural city in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.
Riekman says that like the EP’s compositions, the artwork for iii (created by longtime friend and digital artist Nathan Levasseur) reflects his own experience of anxiety, which at its worst has confined him to his home for months at a time. “I really struggled with agoraphobia when I was younger, and still do to this day,” he says. Often, a salve for these experiences is community and collaboration. Riekman says these give a “feeling of the world getting smaller.”
Blessed—Riekman, Reuben Houweling, Jake Holmes, and Mitchell Trainor—self-produced the record at Vancouver’s Rain City Recorders, with vocals tracked at friends’ houses across Abbotsford. Riekman credits the previous generation of DIY artists in the Fraser Valley with fostering a sense of local responsibility and solidarity that Blessed aims to perpetuate. That’s part of what keeps him in the city; he and Blessed attend city council meetings, book all-ages shows in a garage downtown, and share resources with younger artists learning the ropes of recording, touring, and grant application processes.
“If we leave now, are we abandoning the future us?” Riekman reasons.