ALBUM REVIEW: Blank Realm “Illegals In Heaven”

Blank Realm possesses their own unique energy no matter what genre a song of theirs lands in. And on their new album, Illegals In Heaven, the Brisbane siblings go through a few right away: There’s the opener “No Views,” which captures the scrappy, organized chaos of punk, followed by the shinier, dancier “River of Longing.” Then comes the hazy slide guitar of “Cruel Night,” which borrows from Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones. “Gold” is a quieter, gentler track that still maintains an edge: “If you slow me down, I’ll break your heart.”

So, it’s not so obvious what makes Blank Realm’s sound unique to them, but it can be found somewhere in the  heaviness of their guitars and rhythms, and a tight sound that must come either from constant rehearsal- their label’s website boasts that they’ve played over 200 live performances with bands like Kurt Vile, Wild Flag, and Zola Jesus – or maybe the fact that three out of four of the members are siblings and are naturally in tune with each other. Their songwriting isn’t derivative or sentimental but aggressively nostalgic. You can hear their influences, but they don’t glibly copy them on Illegals In Heaven. They take what they know and like, and apply it in a very straightforward, in-your-face way. Because, like they sing on “Flowers In Mind:” “When every move you’re gonna make has been made/When every trick you’re gonna play has been played,” what else can a band do?”

Key Tracks: “No Views,” “Cruel Night,” and “Gold.”

Listen to “River Of Longing” below.