Blank Realm – Grassed Inn
On last year’s Go Easy LP, this Brisbane quartet occasionally let their love of vintage distortion overwhelm their melodic inclinations; Grassed Inn, while similarly in thrall to frazzled psychedelia, manages to keep those infectious tunes at the forefront of things. Daniel Spencer’s endearingly lackadaisical vocals mesh perfectly with the reverb-heavy jangling rhythm guitars, acquiring an added poignancy when the outfit explore melancholy shoegaze noise, as on the closing Reach You on the Phone.
Blank Realm have been compared to everyone from the Zombies to Sonic Youth, but it’s on tracks like Falling Down the Stairs that they use their influences most effectively: the gloriously trebly riffage and clattering percussion recall 80s indie highpoints like the Blue Orchids or the Fire Engines, and the quartet combine those elements with an irresistible starry-eyed psychedelia. That adroit understanding of their various musical lineages ultimately makes Grassed Inn a successful progression from Go Easy. [Sam Wiseman]