Established in Los Angeles by sister and former Mika Miko members Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, the punk band Bleached had been regularly releasing music on the indie label Dead Oceans since 2011. With two albums and five E.P.s under their belts, the duo has released their third studio album, Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?, a post-punk, funk-rock record that will make anyone feel like they’re doing some soul-searching in a California backyard for the album’s brief, just shy of forty-minutes run time.
The title of this third studio album, Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?, is fitting for where the band is both professionally and personally; it’s the first album the band has produced while sober. “Writing these songs while sober became somewhat of a spiritual experience. I had to let go, trust the process, and allow and energy beyond my control to be present,” Jennifer explained via press release. This fact is reflected thematically throughout the album, which has the sisters reflecting on some toxic behavior, their own youthful resilience, and summertime nostalgia.
Many songs on Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? call back to the party lifestyle Bleached led in the past. The album opens with “Heartbeat Away,” which casually sets up the stakes of their lifestyle change and sets the tone for the rest of the album: “It’s only a heartbeat away/Let the ocean fight for the waves/It’s stay alive–or suicide…it’s stay alive, or do-or-die.” Among the upbeat guitar riffs, there’s a haunting feeling that the past always being a step behind, waiting for them to slip back into their old ways. The song is immediately followed by the whistling, disco-tinged “Hard to Kill,” which defiantly addresses their escape from their old lifestyle and the fears of falling back into their old ways: “All the cities that we burned down/Turns out I’m very hard to kill/After all the damage we’ve done/Turns out I’m very hard to kill.”
Not all of the songs look back at the past with such distance; the beachy “Somebody Call 911” provides for lighter fare about the carefree way of falling in love when on drugs. The rock-heavy “Rebound City” serves as an anthem for the fickle, the ones who’ve just had their hearts broken–and the ones doing the heartbreaking. Some, like “Valley to L.A,” are pure nostalgia as they tell the story of running away to the L.A. music scene as teenagers, without the judgment of the present. “Yeah I know how it ends/And I’d watch it again/Every loss and every win,” Jennifer sings. The reference-heavy “Awkward Phase” celebrates making it out of adolescence alive to alternating, thrumming guitar and bass.
While much of this album serves as a way to look back at the band’s recent past, it doesn’t avoid the present. “Kiss You Goodbye” blends punk, funk, and vibrant pop edges as the sisters sing about breaking up with the toxic people and things in your life. Bleached’s blunt, matter-of-fact manner saves these tracks from sounding they belong in an afterschool special with lyrics like “Feeling so alive/Some things are meant to die.” The album closes on its first single, “Shitty Ballet,” a somewhat surprising acoustic number from the band. “Shitty Ballet,” written in “a deluge of heartbreak,” according to the press release, starts as a quiet, acoustic number and later opens up to louder, distorted vocals about trying to protect feelings from people who don’t respect them.
Bleached has long toyed with Californian inspiration, and that hasn’t stopped with Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? There’s still a bit of ‘60s surf rock vibes and messy garage rock, though now it’s joined by pop hooks and a bit of funk and disco to round everything out. “Bleached has always been a pretty loud rock band so we felt it was time to explore a more stripped down style of playing. With the vulnerability of the lyrics we decided to carry that into the instruments as well for the first time recording with just an acoustic guitar and vocals,” Jennifer explained This new sound evokes the brighter feeling of Blondie, The Go-Gos, and Joan Jett, while showing off Bleached’s attitude and punk roots.
For the most part, Bleached’s journey through time works for Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?; barring outlier “I Get What I Need,” each song serves their purpose and tells a story of where things are and how they came to be that way for the Clavin sisters. This third album balances the sisters’ nostalgia, cringing, and gratitude for their lifestyle change among new musical influences without being heavy-handed. The experiences, presented in their blunt, honest manner, serve as stories rather than cautionary tales, thankfully allowing the album to side-step any afterschool special territory with its message. The clapping beats and repetitive realizations of “Real Life” sum up this album pretty well: Bleached may not have been perfect, but they don’t want perfection; they just want to be who they are while they still can be.