Formed in the wake of the pandemic by John Harney (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Pierce Devine (lead guitar), who were later joined by James Hargreaves (bass) and Tim Tora (drums), the band quickly became the centre point of their lives.
More than just a distraction from the everyday grind of modern city life, Blue Slate became the filter through which they processed the world around them and helped deal with complex emotions.
This is no more apparent than on ‘Prospect’. Through its thick walls of distortion, the song is a melancholic reflection on the uncertainty of future prospects.
John spoke to the fact that the song was written during a particularly dark period of time in his life, not knowing where he was going to be in a week, a month or even in years and feeling of being trapped that this circumstance evoked in him.
Lyrically the band don’t feel the need to hide behind metaphor or have messages draped in flowery language, instead preferring vulnerability and to bear their souls upfront.
‘Prospect’ begins with some lazily strummed chords, the ennui and dissatisfaction already seeping through the track. This is punctuated by the heavily reverbed lead guitar, that seems to mimic some painful wail that Pierce is able to pull out from within via the trem arm on his guitar.
It’s a haunting sound that adds further emotional weight to the vocals. When the chorus hits it gives us a moment of clarity, crashing cymbals and waves of distorted guitars offer a glimmer of hope as John sings “I’m waiting on the sun” over and over. It feels like serenity bathed in swathes of light, levity in the face of sorrow.
There’s little hope to be found in the remainder of the song, melancholic and chilling guitars coupled with John’s slacker like take on life ‘how it goes’.
This carries through to Tim’s approach to the drums, barely touching hi-hats in the verse and almost destroying his crashes in the chorus. James’s bass playing adds anchor and weight in the chorus but simple bass slides in the verse help add to the feeling of disquiet.
The band choose to record with fellow shoegazer Ben Verdes of Petrichor. It was important to the band that they worked with someone who shared the same musical vocabulary and understood their touch points.
Having already shared stages together, Ben had already heard the song in a live setting and understood the nuances and energy the band were hoping to capture. Pushing John in the vocal booth and managing to pull the emotionally raw vocal take we hear on the track, reminiscent of Nothing’s Nicky Palermo.
The artwork for the track is a heavily edited version of Mount Corcoran by Albert Bierstadt, dialling up the contrast to reflect the sonic contrast of the track. When the artist spoke of the towering peaks in his painting he said, “the first to catch the morning sunlight and the last to say good night” which seems all too fitting given the lyrical content.
A single that far surpasses what their output should be this early in the life span of the band ‘Prospect’ only adds to the impressive debut single ‘Wipers’. The band say that they were flippantly named one day just before a show, with John picking the name based on the colour of the roofing of his home. Now it seems like the band is as much a home as anywhere else.