BY JENNIFER KELLY
The Blind Shake — that’s brothers Jim and Mike Blaha on guitar, non-relative Dave Roper on drums — have backed Michael Yonkers as his noise band and John Reis as a surf band. On their own brief but excellent recording, they fold in elements of noise and surf, as well as a jangle-fuzzed garage rock vibe that wouldn’t be out of place on a Ty Segall or Sic Alps LP.
The disc starts strong with the monumental “Tar Paper,” built on a pounding, obliterating, downward striking riff, two clangorous guitars raining down on thwacked out, straight ahead drums. A short semi-melodic vocal line anchors the song. It is slammed down over and over, making a satisfying clank like a shot glass hitting a bar. This one is matched by “More Land” for pure ferocious intensity, and “Yellow” (pronounced, by the way, as “Yah-la-la-la-la-la-low”) with its Peter Gunn riff gone feral, is not far behind.
Yet there are other more languid intervals, where you can pick out the intersections between Jim Blaha’s lead and Mike Blaha’s bass-ish baritone guitar and where the surf influence comes to the front. The instrumental “A Clock, A Window, A Pyramid” is, arguably, the best of these, thoughtful, lyrical and downright pretty, even as its twangy lines are sucked into a woodchipper howl of damaged feedback. Two songs are almost pop, in a fuzzed lo-fi way. “Diamond Days” slouches in full-on Ty Segall-style slackitude, burying a fragile melody into banks of staticky distortion. “Salt,” at the end, melds momentum with tunefulness, a la the Beets or Nodzzz.
It’s, all in all, a surprisingly accessible album from a band unafraid to go way out there. Fierce but fun is not a bad combination.
DOWNLOAD: “Tar Paper” “Salt”