Gumshoe is old. Gumshoe is tired. Gumshoe wants a taco. But first he must crack a riddle he’s been trying to drop into a frying pan for nigh two years now: the mystery of Blanche Blanche Blanche and its zesty duo of Zach Phillips and Sarah Smith. As Gum sees it, talking to them in real life won’t cut it; he’s already conversed with Phillips a bit via email anyway, and it didn’t explain the strange-azz appeal of Blanche³. The only way to truly break-on-through would be to call up good friend Leo-Cap and set up an interview with Phillips and Smith circa an Inception-style dreamscape, Smith’s answers emanating only from lyrics, found on the Our Place LP, that have been floating ‘round Gumshoe’s subconscious.
This is what happened in that dream (I think):
Gumshoe: Hello, Blanche. I’ve been expecting you.
Zach Phillips: [winks, tinkles imaginary piano keys with right hand]
Sarah Smith: Talk to me.
G: Sorry about the stained cushions in the waiting room — those are from my deepest inner thoughts — and, hell, the contrived premise is maybe a little much.
SS: I’m not rude; I’m not angry.
G: That’s good because I’m actually a pretty big believer in what you’re doing. So… where do I begin? You two have released an ass-blistering fuck-ton of albums since we first met in 2011, including a full-length each on Night People, Feeding Tube (this), and La Station Radar, a 12-inch, and a trio of tapes. And hey, the year ain’t over yet, right!?! So anyway, do you worry you will run out of ideas or things to say?
ZP: [shakes head, plays imaginary piano with two hands, making sounds with his mouth to match the keys (not) played]
SS: Maybe things are strange. You gotta write the rules for your own gaaaaaaaaaame.
G: Can you elaborate on that a little, Sarah?
SS: The band begins to go nuts. They play crazy songs. They go in circles. They go to a restaurant. The food is so expensive. And the people dance crazily. The boss doesn’t like it crazy, so he fires the band.
G: Hey, could happen to anyone. Speaking of crazy, this tinny, bare-nutz, so-ironic-it’s-not sound you have going is turning some heads. Zach, I noticed you’re working a little guitar into the arrangements. A little sloppy, but I appreciate the inclusion. In fact, I think you mentioned recently you were going to record a BBB album with only guitars [this is actually true]. So I guess my question is, why tinker with a winning formula? You’re obviously precocious on the Casios…
ZP: [shrugs, tinkles fingers on both hands again then assumes a cocksure air-guitar stance, but swipes awkwardly at his imaginary instrument, to the point of comic effect; subsequently acts as if he’s broken a string]
G: Well, okay then! Sarah, you are so deadpan, I almost feel the term was invented for you. You often sound like you’re having conversations with unnamed parties or talking on the phone while Zach over here fingers his ivories. As strange as your shtick is, I often swim in pools of your voice in my dreams. Is it possible to create music so wonderfully zapped and also have any career goals whatsoever?
SS: Maybe I like to see myself… happy, fat, charmed, up there on the shelf. But I won’t be there anymore. Not for me. ‘Cause I don’t believe any more in brand loyalty… White socks or red socks?
G: Red! Hey Zach, you sort of have a deadpan style on the keys, too. I know you have operatic chops — don’t forget I’ve got those GDC tapes — but how do you subvert/disguise them so well in your work as BBB?
ZP: [pantomimes a super-complicated synth solo, then punches a single note with each index finger, out of time; then he shrugs, as if to say, “What’s the difference?”]
G: Sarah, can you tell me a little bit about the lyrics? You’ve definitely gone a few levels underground with the surrealistic edge of your words.
SS: You know that I eat, everything I do; whatever the problem it’s our place it’s our place it’s our place it’s our place…
G: Hey that’s the name of the new album! Where is Our Place, by the way?
SS: Someone’s in my home again. I’ll be home one day again; I’ll buy the ruby. You’ll make it right through me… People come to my house, I wish them away.
G: That’s what I’m talkin’ about baby! I love it. Well I’m ready to wrap this up double-bag style. I know you guys don’t like to talk about relationship stuff, but one of you is a boy, and one of you is a girl; any comments?
SS: Falling in love makes a lot of noise.
G: Well, wasn’t it Lenny Bruce that once said, “People don’t stay”?
SS: I wanna hear you sing it!
G: Oh no, I couldn’t possibly! But thank you. Maybe someday I’ll meet you outside of a dream if I can get one of those damn pamphlets in Vermont to hire me!
SS: Final notice, final notice, final notice, final notice, final notice, final no—
[Gumshoe wakes up with a better understanding of Our Place and, just maybe, himself. But mostly Our Place.]