Lancashire Times
Voice of the North
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
7:00 AM 29th May 2020

Blanche - Empire

Give her left-of-centre sound and imagery, Belgian alt-pop singer Blanche has surprising beginnings in the music industry. The one-time The Voice Belgique entrant released one of the most credible and incredible Eurovision entries of recent years - City Lights - which saw her soar to fourth place in 2017. Since then she has steadily trickled singles with a range of sonic leanings as she really defined her voice as an artist. Now, three years later, she arrives at her debut album - Empire.

Interestingly Empire does not journey too far from City Lights. Certainly her debut single was more pop-centric, but it did lean towards to spacey fusion of electro and indie which are combined to craft one of the most enticing albums of 2020.

With the album boasting 13 songs, it journeys through the down-tempo introspection through to a more playful mid-tempo dreaming, but the real star of the show is how Blanche's radiant vocal shines throughout. Regardless of what she is singing about, her voice is solid and rich.

Summer anthems come in all shapes and sizes, but one that you need in your life is the banging Summer Nights. With a sugary sweet chorus, this side to Blanche is not fully explored on the album, but certainly provides one of the highlights. The more stoic Pain is a direct contrast, yet also provides a real album high. As Blanche's vocal pours out emotion, it is impossible not to just melt into the moment. However, it is the explosively brooding How Does That Sound, along with its trippy backing that really steals the show.

Recent single, the glitchy and dreamy 1, 2, Miss You is certainly one of the most radio direct features, but it also really summarises the expectations of the record. Blanche is an artist who understands pop, but plays with the genre on her own terms. This has been evident from the very outset of her career, and early fans will be pleased that this glorious album still caters to their tastes.

Blanche is not your average popstar, she is something far superior.