Monday, June 14, 2010

Blank Dogs

Phrases EP (Captured Tracks, 2010)

For: Blessure Grave, The Crocodiles, Joy Division

Byline: Goth-bedroom pop

Captured Tracks has really made some headway this year releasing consistently amazing records and perhaps single-handedly ushering in a first-wave goth revival. The label's newest acquisition to their already stellar roster is this 2009 slacker/goth-pop blog fav. Blank Dogs. We're backtracking a little bit here in anticipation of the band's third, forthcoming full-length (and first for Captured Tracks) this month, but what we have in the way of this four song EP is leaving us salivating... so much so we had to say something. Given the above comparisons you probably already have an idea of what Blank Dogs are working with. Coming out of 2008's summer fuzz-pop explosion, Blank Dogs steer these new tracks out of the warm analog hiss and into the cold, bored austerity of 80's post-punk and pop. Joy Division is almost too easy of a comparison, with lockstep bass line-following, ice-cold synth lines and consistently wicked guitar riffing. But where Joy Division and their black-clad minions were consistently bleak, Blank Dogs find ways to filter the "what-do-we-care" surf bum mentality of those summer '08 lo-fi luminaries through the icy landscape of a Brooklyn winter. The result is more akin to Echo and the Bunnymen type jangle-pop melancholia, especially on the album standout "Blurred Tonight." A backwards steel drum comes out of nowhere, punching a hole in the the angular guitar playing and constant click track. This recent prospect of a new wave of bedroom-goth bands making names for themselves, most of them associated with Captured Tracks (with Blank Dogs, Blessure Grave, Soft Moon, and Crocodiles) has me thinking it might be time to dust off that old Killing Joke T-Shirt.

Ryan H.

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