Blank Realm - Illegals In Heaven

by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2014-09-06

Good Australian indie-rock/punk has never strayed too far from pop music as its foundation, and Brisbane has arguably been its simmering epicentre. Bands such as The Go-Betweens, The Saints, The Apartments, and the The Riptides are but four bands which historically made a name for themselves outside of their home state, and Blank Realm are also getting that exposure.  

While these noise merchants might have more in common with Sonic Youth, on Illegals in Heaven, they show a deft hand at a pop riff to sit alongside their perfectly measured slow-core sound. While their songs by and large have a lo-fi garage-rock growl, their incandescent melodies provide those elusive layers which distinguish good working bands from excellent ones . 

Those familiar with their earlier albums will find them shifting a bit towards an indie pop song structure, but without compromising what made them stand out in the first place. That Blank Realm are still a band you can see for a tenner, probably highlights all that is imbalanced about the indie economy these days. Me, I’m not complaining, if you’re an adventurous music fan, there’s plenty to rejoice about. If you’re a musician, it’s hard graft. 

On their fifth album, Blank Realm have perfected a sound that combines the best of independent Australian rock music (see The Triffids, Died Pretty and the bands mentioned above) with the tension and crunching guitar goodness of the best of Mogwai and Slint, as the slow build of ‘Too Late Now’ bears witness.   

No point in mincing words though, this is one of those albums that has crystalline importance in a world full of targeted commercial mediocrity.

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