The problem with Australia's Blank Realm is that they are simply too good at so many different styles of music. This means that's it hard to pin them down and describe them easily. Brimming with passion, the tunes on their new one, Illegals in Heaven, out Friday on Fire Records blaze a path that takes them near artists as diverse as Sonic Youth, Th' Faith Healers, and The Clean.
When Brisbane's Sarah Spencer takes over lead vocals we're treated to something vaguely close to Kim Gordon's old band ("No Views") or even Garbage ("River of Longing"). When one of her brothers -- there are 2 of them in Blank Realm -- takes over the lead vocals on "Dream Date" the effect is something like Luna covering a Lou Reed cut.
There are only 9 songs on Illegals in Heaven and they all succeed impressively on bold terms. From the Britpop-infused hooks of the spry "Palace of Love", to the near Tom Verlaine-isms of "Flowers in Mind", and then on to closer "Too Late Now", all Evil Heat-era Primal Scream spruced up with a a notion of brightness amid the grime, Illegals in Heaven offers up some of the most listenable indie rock of this late summer season.
I really hope that this album gets the attention it deserves outside of Australia 'cause Illegals in Heaven is remarkably consistent and frequently a blast of energy through the eardrums.
Illegals in Heaven by Blank Realm is out September 4 on Fire Records.