(In the Red)
Ominously unfocused, bristling with paranoia and wobbling
with echoey distortion, Brooklyn’s Blank Dogs
recall the claustrophobic threat of Fad Gadget, the operatic uneasiness of the
Cure. This second full-length, following last year’s On Two Sides, builds angsty romanticism out of warbly keys, drum
machines and vocals that come from, not just another room, but another plane. Album
highlight “Setting Fire to Your House” is pure post-industrial menace, anthemic
choruses floating over twisted heaps of burnt disco synthetics, a Cure-ish bassline
leading through the haze. “Tin Birds”, almost as good, allows the fog to clear,
a slanting rain of guitar notes pelting down on mumbled lyrics.
The scale is small, all songs confined to tight spaces and
looking inward, yet despite these limits Blank Dogs make stabs at Joy
Division-ish grandeur, at Fixx-esque apocalyptic despair. The end result is
scary, riveting, but distant, like someone else’s nightmare. If this is bedroom
pop, there’s a monster under the bed.
Tracks: “Setting Fire to Your House”, “Tin Birds” JENNIFER KELLY