It’s been four years since Newcastle’s Beth Jeans Houghton became Du Blonde for acclaimed second album ‘Welcome Back To Milk’, emerging as a glammed-up, fire-breathing garage rock star. In the interim, she’s been painting, made videos for Ezra Furman and Red Hot Chili Peppers, worked on a novel, released a comic book and battled the loneliness and anxiety.
‘Lung Bread For Daddy’ is as much a naked confessional as it is Houghton showing off her complexity, album highlight ‘Holiday Resort’ blending the soul of her first record and the snarl of the second to best show where she’s at now. “Spoke to my doctor, he said I’ve passed my peak – all my eggs are dying, in my twenties I’m antique,” she pines of coming of age, before resigning herself to nights of pulling pubes out of her swimsuit and awaiting a booty call. This is what the Friends theme tune should have been. So no one told you life was gonna be this way?
Yes, it’s refreshingly blunt, human and conversationally direct. ‘Peach Meat’ makes poetic but crudely casual work of the stickier details of those liaisons with someone who’s “very kind and very bad”. There’s a confident strut to the sound and attitude of the meandering punk of both ‘Angel’ and ‘Buddy’ as she asserts on the latter: “But if I can’t be your girl, I can’t be your friend”.
Houghton’s control is masterful, not just in translating her thoughts and confusion so pristinely into cracking tunes, but this record is testament to just how undersung she is as a musician. ‘RBY’, for example, is a seamless journey through psychedelia, folk and arena rock. Playing everything except the drums, Houghton takes you into the very core of Planet Du Blonde. Both ugly and beautiful, it’s a world made of all the lessons gleaned from pushing on the darkest part of the bruise.