Review: Blank Realm – Grassed Inn
Published on January 28th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Brisbane quartet Blank Realm have performed with the legendary likes of Damo Suzuki, Kurt Vile, Wild Flag and The Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster – yes, we mentioned that in the intro to our review of last year’s Go Easy album, but it’s impressive enough that it should kick off our review of follow-up Grassed Inn as well.
We also used a number of descriptives – namely ‘fuzzy’, ‘druggy’ and ‘sleazy’ – that sound like dwarfs from the bad side of the mine train tracks. These all remain applicable this time around, not least since Daniel Spencer’s vocals sound even more like Bobby Gillespie, especially on the Deerhunter flare-up of “Falling Down the Stairs”.
“Bell Tower” is magnificent, sounding like something Gaz Coombes might come up with in a solo environment, but darker and wonkier. It starts out not so much howling at the moon as dry-heaving at it, bewitching nonetheless with its chiming guitar couplets, before the sheer, sneering rapture of the chorus marks its territory quite emphatically.
Unfortunately, like “Cleaning Up My Mess” on Go Easy, “Bell Tower” is all too comfortably the pick of the bunch. Not that we aren’t taken with the sparkling high-end keyboard and thick swathes of heavily reverbed lead guitar on eight-minute centrepiece “Bulldozer Love”, or even the surprising drum machine on “Violet Delivery”…it’s just that Blank Realm have shown themselves capable of greatness, but not yet across the duration of an album.
Here’s hoping that the follow-up to Grassed Inn smacks so much gob that we’re forced into writing a new intro.
Grassed Inn is out now on Fire Records.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!