Growing up around the DIY Los Angeles punk scene inevitably creates fascinating memories—enough to create an entire persona and way of life. Sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin grew up in the San Fernando Valley, taking two- or three-hour bus rides into Hollywood to catch shows. Eventually, after being surrounded by so much inspiration and so many people, and with a lot of time on their hands to teach themselves how to play instruments, the two found themselves first in Mika Miko, a local low-fi punk favorite, and now as their own duo Bleached. And their first full-length album, Ride Your Heart, certainly serves as a reflection of the fast-paced, fun-yet-heartbreaking lives they’ve grown to know.
Most tracks try to get listeners to jump up and down and sing along. Opener “Looking For A Fight” handles this task well, with Jessica playing bouncy bass chords, the guitar spouting lo-fi surfer-rock vibrations, and Jennifer’s voice sounding distant but close enough to make out what she’s saying to sing along.
Lyrically, you won’t find anything awe-inspiring. There’s a lot of repetition and sometimes Jennifer’s vocals get tiresome to listen to, like in “Love Spells,” a three-minute ballad with the same guitar chords and Jennifer spewing, “Boy, don’t tell me I’m crazy” over and over. And by the time the title track “Ride Your Heart” comes along, it starts to get less interesting and leaves you longing to hear something different.
The final two tracks save the album from leaving a bad taste in your mouth. “Guy Like You” is sweet and mellow with a quieter surf-rock sound—something the album should have had more of. The closing, nostalgic track “When I Was Yours” (a song Jennifer says is one of the more personal songs on the album for her) holds on to that soft mellow sound and still steers further away from what the rest of the album sounds like.
There’s a certain charm and some authenticity to the Clavin sisters that helps tremendously in making Ride Your Heart successful. And while they’re fairly far off from their punk roots, they’re on their way to finding a unique voice. Plus, they’re said to be pretty sweet live, so don’t pass them up.