I did some record "shopping" a few weeks ago at the WFMU heavily played list, ended up reviewing Lamps and Blank Realm for Dusted (with a reissue of the Monochrome Set's Strange Boutique still to come)...all totally enjoyable experiences, and here's the first one to run, up yesterday at Dusted.
Blank Realm has emerged out of the extended drones and free-form scree of the Not Not Fun world into a damaged, pedal-altered garage rock, kin to fellow Australian bands like UV Race and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Go Easy, originally released on vinyl last year by Siltbreeze, is Blank Realm’s most tuneful, accessible album yet, a loosely strung, cheerily dissonant set of songs. Remnants of the band’s hard-jamming, endlessly improv-ing past poke through -- in the bludgeoning, blast-furnace heat of opener “Acting Strange,” in the untethered instrument play of “The Crackle” (parts one and two) and especially in the vast, krauty expanses of next-to-closer “Pendulum Swing.” But Go Easy is pretty close to a pop album, at least as close as Times New Viking or UV Race ever gets.
Because Blank Realm splits vocals between a boy and a girl, and also perhaps because of a general noisy slackness, they are often compared to Royal Trux. It’s an easy reference, but full of holes. I’m not hearing much, if any, of Hagerty and Herrema’s Stones neo-soul in these tracks, nor is there much of that band’s sexual smolder, maybe because three-quarters of Blank Realm are siblings. But more than that, Go Easy is lackadaisical in a happy, low-key sort of way, not strung out with existential anomie (and, er, heroin). Even the title track, which slathers a who-can-be-bothered monotone of male and female singing over a low-slung blues vamp, sounds more like Matt Valentine and Erika Elder than anything else. It’s unhurried but unworried, too, without the menacing undertow of Royal Trux.
And you know, just because "Falling Down Stairs" on a party Boat sounds so R'N R...