Pip Blom is the songwriter and singer in the band Pip Blom. Rather than take a nom de plume for her musical outpourings, like Snail Mail or Japanese Breakfast, Pip’s persona is front and centre which is surprising for a self-proclaimed introvert. Growing up an intensely shy child didn’t perturb her from entering a songwriting competition in her teens, following in the musical footsteps of her father Erwin who is a member of Eton Crop (look them up – John Peel loved them, and rightly so). Pip Blom (the band) signed to Heavenly Records at the end of 2018 and their debut album Boat arrives as a fully formed entity, a wonderful introduction to a band of huge promise.

‘Daddy Issues’ is a great album opener and sounds like The Breeders and Veruca Salt. It’s an infectious slice of indie pop with more than a hint of grunge sensibilities going on at the peripheries to take the edge off the sugar coating. Pip’s voice is both victorious and vulnerable, confident and exposed. This is an effervescent aural trap, an unassailable earworm of huge proportions which plays with dynamics, hooks and riffs in exactly the way they should be handled. It’s a masterful song of pure, joyous simplicity and if it doesn’t bury itself into your psyche for a while then it may be best to check your pulse. The twin guitar and vocals of the band’s siblings – Pip and Tender Blom (yep, he has the best name ever) – complement each other to perfection. Where her voice is full to the brim of emotion, his is more stoic and controlled. If the metaphor of the album’s title can be extended, then Pip is the ship, but Tender is the grounding anchor.

The skittering opening to ‘Don’t Make It Difficult’ moves the listener into another direction – one that is more twitching and urgent than the vibrant but controlled first track. The angular guitars bring to mind the spiky convulsions of post-punk acts like Wire, Ought and Parquet Courts. The repeated lyrics of “I think I’m hard to please/ You think I’m hard to please” frame the theme of the song which is the need for keeping relationships uncomplicated whilst both acknowledging the issues at stake. This narrative is continued in ‘Say It’, a plaintive love song about wanting to know someone as openly and honestly as possible. It’s great.

On ‘Set of Stairs’, Pip does her best Justine Frischmann vocal impression and it makes you wonder why Elastica often get overlooked as a significant influence on the new wave of post-punk bands cropping up in the last few years. The song overall is looser than many of their mechanically metronomic contemporaries, offering a sense of fun that many bands of their ilk forget/forego.

Boat is a self-assured, mature body of work with a set of songs that sit beautifully together. The album has space to breathe, alter direction and progress over its duration. It is bold in places - the closing track ‘Aha’ meanders and sways when a cheaper trick would be to have an album of this type finish on an emotional high rather than a mid-paced introspective wonder. The taut, coiled nature of songs such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘Tired’ are perfectly juxtaposed with the more delightfully unrefined slacker anthems of ‘Bedhead’ and ‘Tinfoil’, and it is this relatively multifaceted aspect of the band which raises them above many in their algorithm gene pool.