Thursday, 31 January 2013

Going Easy On Blank Realm

Blank Realm have been one of the best bands in Brisbane for a while now. It wasn’t whether they would make the next step into awesomeness, but when – 2012 saw them support many killer acts (Mark McGuire, Maria Minerva, Zola Jesus, Blues Control, Sun Araw), and their releases on Not Not Fun and Bedroom Suck kept pushing them into the slipstream. But when I heard that Siltbreeze was going to be putting their next record out (in America at least – Bedroom Suck distributed it here, and Fire Records will do the Euro route in March), I thought “This is it.” And goddamn if Go Easy isn’t one of the best records of last, or any, year to come out of Australia. Seriously.

'Acting Strange' kicks things off, a dirty, chaotic, feverish melange of noise played loose and free. Dan and Sarah Spencer’s vocals intertwine in equal doses of laconicism and high-pitched anxiety. The synth is broken glass on the spine of the melody. Luke Walsh’s guitar roils and spits as only the most fervent No Wave acolytes know how. But there is tightness within; the quartet is more in control of their id than ever before, and is even more adept at spinning on a dime. 'Cleaning Up My Mess' is all loose limbs and slack-jawed grins stretched to breaking point, offering an interesting amalgam of the Victorian slacker-pop zeitgeist with glacial wear and tear, and a guitar solo that could be locked in the Flying Nun archives. 'Working On Love' seems like the closest the band will come to a straight up garage rocker, before the insidious barbiturate-pop of 'Growing Inside' scratches at the inside of the skull once more, an evilly charismatic heart-burner. The band even split 'The Crackle' in half, leaving a post-punk abrasion on one side and an indolent down-the-rabbit-hole percussive nightmare on the other.

Ending with excellent guitar wigout 'Pendulum Swing' and the delectable amble of the title track (one of my favourite songs of last year, and of the summer), there is no doubt that Blank Realm is deserved of high praise and prized support slots. Hell – don’t be surprised if the tides turn; this album has the bent swagger to warrant headline turns. A brilliant record. Grab Go Easy here, here, or pre-order here.

Blank Realm – Cleaning Up My Mess
Blank Realm – Growing Inside
Blank Realm – Go Easy

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