blankrealm

Whilst Hookworms have been over here leaving a visible trail of destruction in their wake, Australian family band Blank Realm were clearly busy at with the details. They’ve always had a roughness about their lo-fi garage punk, but on ‘Grassed In’ it’s been curbed a little, concentrated and snapped thoroughly into line. Album opener ‘Back To The Flood’ is a sort of loose, pleasing sketch of Blank Realm at their best, centring itself on a fidgety, hyperactive guitar riff and then proceeding to loiter brazenly on the verge of anthemic. ‘Even The Score’, however, is more representative of the whole and, after a thumping first few seconds, sits back and settles for relative impotence.

As a crop of fine-tuned (but still pleasingly raucous) tracks, at their very best they can be immensely enjoyable. However, gone are the expansive gestures and the messiness that often excited most about Blank Realm’s music. Instead, ‘Grassed In’ is another step down the path towards the tighter, more precise songwriting that 2012’s ‘Go Easy’ hinted at and, sadly, it also feels like an offering that’s frustratingly within the band’s comfort zone.

There’s no doubt that this LP is a necessary progression, but one that, considering the group’s well-documented talent, seems much more pit stop than final destination.

dot