Blank Realm – River of longing (Fire Records)

I did a Best of 2015 Mid Year round up last month, about 1 hour of my favourite music of the year so far. Obviously there was no way I could fit everything I liked into 1 hour – I could easily have filled another hour or two.

This song would certainly have made the 2nd hour, the lead track from the new album by Brisbane band Blank Realm, Illegals in heaven, amazingly their 10th by my count. I say amazingly because I only heard of the band for the first time last year. It’s not every day a “new” band with an 8/9 album back catalogue comes on your radar. And for that thanks to Fire Records who are bringing them out this side of the world, following previous outings on other esteemed labels Not Not Fun and Bedroom Suck.

Anyway, Blank Realm explore various strands of psych rock - motorik rhythms, jagged thrashing or chiming heart-piercing guitars and compelling semi-tuneful vocals by brother and sister Sarah and Daniel Spencer (Everett True calls the vocals no wave and I can’t do better than that – Tom Verlaine of Television, for example, wouldn’t be a bad reference point).

This tune sits on the brighter psych pop end of that spectrum, a headrush of gorgeous prismatic guitars (a chorus of Fender Jags if I’m not mistaken, which would remind you of ‘Friday I’m in love’ by The Cure), those reaching vocals and a lyric full of teenage longing, as the title suggests.

It rattles along at a headlong pace for 4 glorious minutes and then collapses beautifully in a welter of fuzz. It’s a little bit freaky and frazzled and pushes pop to the limit.

I’m currently thoroughly enjoying the album of which more anon.


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