Bleached are a blast of sun-sheened pop wrapped in a über-cool Los Angeles punk attitude. Bleached are also two sisters, Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, formed from the ashes of their previous all-girl punk outfit, Mika Miko.
“At first we weren't sure how far we were gonna take Bleached,” Jennifer reveals to Clash. “We just knew Mika Miko was coming to an end and we wanted to keep playing music together, go in a different direction than Mika Miko and experiment with different sounds and styles of songwriting.”
Debut album, 'Ride Your Heart' is head-on collision of the sisters' punk roots and a burgeoning pop sensibility. The Clavins would sneak into punk shows in their early teens. “We used to go to two or three shows on the weekends, usually older bands doing reunion shows like The Adolescents, Black Flag, and Circle Jerks,” Jennifer recalls before admitting to a childhood obsession with Siouxsie Sioux. Later on, the sisters would hunt down YouTube videos of Blondie and The Slits before proclaiming them “the coolest girls ever.”
But while the duo's punk credentials are all in good order, 'Ride Your Heart' is also a melodious riot of bubblegum pop. Clash loves a band that isn't scared to write a pop song. “I am obsessed with pop music,” admits Jennifer. “I love the catchiness, the melodies that get stuck in your head, the lyrics that somehow grab you and make you feel like you are living the song - even if it's just three minutes.” Songs like the raw rush of 'Next Stop' and the sparkling 'Searching Through The Past' prove Jennifer's point - “I think in a way I am writing my version of pop music. When I start out writing a song, I base it off my lyrical melodies. And if I can't find a melody with the riff I ditch it and move on.”
Lyrically, much of 'Ride Your Heart' revels on broken promises and dead-end relationships. “The words come from personal experiences, usually when I'm miserable and am thinking there is no hope and everything sucks,” Jennifer says with the faintest of grins. “Plus, I've been told before that I'm very dramatic. I probably need to learn how to relax.”
For some, sharing a band with a sibling might not be the surest path to relaxation. Clash asks Jennifer about the propensity for sororal squabbling. “Every now and then we fight, of course. But we always say that since we are sisters we are forever. Also we get each other - so we let each other breathe.” Right now, Bleached sound like a glittering breath of fresh Californian air.
Words by John Freeman (Follow on Twitter)
Where: Los Angeles, California
What: Solar-powered punk pop
Get 3 Songs: 'Dead In Your Head', Searching Through The Past', 'Next Stop'.
Unique Fact: As teenagers Jennifer and Jessica would recreate wrist bands or hand stamps and sneak backstage at punk gigs in LA.