Danny Blu first made his mark on the music world with his band Echo Black, blending hard rock, electronic, and pop music and a gorgeously gothic presentation. Before long, the charismatic stigma-breaker Blu would break out on his own, releasing solo material over the last couple of years. His own work would be more electronic- and industrial-based, with notes of hard rock and synthpop added in for good measure. Now, Blu has put forth his first solo EP, The Pale Horse, collecting some of his previously released singles with some new material for seven tracks of sleek dark pop. Running the gamut of subject matter from love to mental health to LGBTQ+ identities, The Pale Horse is a tour de force.
The introductory track “Amdusias” starts off with a sample of Bible quotes, as a dreamy synth plays under it. As the monologue ends, the bass gets cranked up some, with the once-cloudlike instrumentation turning harsher and heavier. Danny’s vocals are a treat to listen to once they start off in “White (K)night,” as the verses are lighter, delay-ridden fare compared to the bass-heavy post-drops. The intro to “Paradise City” features a brief saxophone flourish before Blu’s vocals come in, as the swaying nature of this track takes over. The synths dance over the guitar and bass lines in the chorus, and the drumming gives a rock backbone to most of this track, contrasting it from what we’ve heard thus far.
“Bubble” comes next, with an industrial base with rock ornamentation. The chorus of “good boys don’t go to heaven, good girls don’t go to heaven” is a bucket of cold water to the face that brings this track, and the listener, alive. Another lyrical highlight is “you seek perfection with no direction,” and it’s a perfect line to go with this song about shaking things up, escaping that metaphorical bubble to seek truth and happiness. “Love Me Bad” is, if the title didn’t give it away, the sex song of the record, feeling electric and energetic while feeling just sleazy enough. It’s not a love song, it’s not just a sweet treat, it’s saccharine and smooth.
After the body electric is celebrated, “Burn” brings the tempo down a hair for a more emotional, deeper within track. Playing with the quiet verse, loud chorus dynamic, the song employs a slow groove to drive home the point and the melody. The descending synth that punctuates the chorus is a flourish that helps to punch up the already fiery refrain. Finally, we come to what might be my favorite track of the EP, “Sanctuary.” It’s straight-up synthpop with some fabulous metering on the vocals. The chorus uses some heavy guitars to add to the overall product, some bite and spice to this synthpop stew we have simmering here.
Danny Blu has given us an EP worthy of playing over and over again. His work is dark enough to appeal to alternative music fans, while being accessible enough to be enjoyed by the general public. That’s not selling out, it’s frankly genius, and The Pale Horse rides off into the sunset triumphantly. And with recent remixes by artists like KANGA and Moris Blak, it’s clear that Blu is going to be riding out this industrial kick he’s been on for a while, and I for one am excited to see where it takes him.
The Pale Horse will be available for streaming and purchase tomorrow, September 1st. For more information, visit www.dannyblu.com.