Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blank Realm - Deja What (Bedroom Suck 2010)

The day I began to write this it was just post Brisbane flood. It was blistering hot and I was dripping with sweat. The sun had baked in the mud and there was still an air of uneasiness. There’d been nothing to do for a week and everyone was feeling prickly. So it seemed fitting to post a record that seemed to encapsulate all of these indescribable feelings.

Blank Realm, Brisbane’s leading spiritual rock mystics, deliver their second LP in as many years on local imprint Bedroom Suck. ‘Deja What?’ was originally released as a CDR on ‘Albert’s Basement’ with a paltry 52 copies being made. Well this vinyl re-issue certainly solves the problem of nobody hearing it and it has undergone a facelift being re-mastered by ECSR’s Mikey Young. On this record Blank Realm steer more steadily towards a pop trajectory keeping the psychosis of ‘Heatless Ark’ canned for the time being. Anyone who has seen Blank Realm this year would expect this to be the case with their live set always edging closer to a trad rock sound.

The first track has Blank Realm display the drugged, dubby vibe perfected by bands on the label No Not Fun. No surprises here, it chugs along at a meandering pace with enough going on to keep it interesting. But the song actually serves as a nice way in for hit “Full Moon Door” which has me recalling folk greats Neil Young and Dylan for no particular reason. Maybe it’s the vocals, maybe the feeling of longing or partially the instrumentation. Organ sounds massive here and the reverb takes the song to out of space. However, BR never ones to dwell bring us back to Earth with the motorik muscle of ‘My Nativity’. Kind of sounds BR didn’t know what to do with this one and towards the end builds up nicely but for all the flatness before it seems all a little in vain. BR reset the controls for some Blues Control exploration on ‘Trained Creep’. By no means a bad jam but I think we all know BR are capable of much more. Logan’s hands plod appears at first to be a Pocahaunted throw back until the beat kicks and transforms into something a little uglier and less palatial. Soul’s Illusion hints at the past passive-aggression they once harboured.

This record is a trip and as was the case with ‘Heatless Ark’ it’s not always good vibes. BR are still doling out the pop hits on occasion. I’ll wager that the next record might be even more straightforward than this. Who knows, doubt BR even do. Always a pleasure.

Blank Realm

(sorry again for the delay, writer's block, lack of motivation etc)