Highlights: Back To The Flood, Baby Closes The Door, Reach You On The Phone
Oddly enough, I first misspelled the title as Grassed In. Would have been a nice idea. Too bad they went for something so dull and decorative. Grassed In describes the album’s sound perfectly. I don’t know how, but it does.
Blank Realm is an Australian band, which is in itself a bonus point. “Falling Down The Stairs”, the album’s second song, has the kind of silly keyboard line that resembles the one in The Clean’s immortal “Tally Ho!” (incidentally, one of Martin Phillipps’s greatest gifts to the world). It’s a great song, monotonous yet groovy. Not quite New Zealand, but close enough.
Overall, what we are talking about here is psyched-up rock music of very intense variety. The whole thing is definitely melodic, but also messy and never too subtle. Noisy grooves are based on catchy guitar lines (the opening “Back To The Flood”) and charismatic songwriting (“Baby Closes The Door” is so cool you will want to chain-smoke into the passing faces) and go on for five minutes (on average). Sometimes they go nowhere (“Even The Score”, though typical, fails to engage), but usually it works. Take the closing “Reach You On The Phone”, for instance, which is addictive and is filled with that youthful desperation we can all recognise.
Lumpy groovy, as Frank Zappa once (almost) put it. By the end of it, you will feel positively grassed in. And you will know exactly what I’m talking about.