“Who’s falling down the stairs tonight?”
Australia’s Blank Realm used to be a lot noisier four years ago, and even two years ago they drowned songcraft in dissonant Sonic Youth-esque noise. *Grassed Inn* finds them in a much more accessible mood, although it’s not completely certain if that’s really for the best. The band combines the expansive mood-building of the Stone Roses and Spiritualized with the single-minded drone work of the Velvet Underground (there’s a touch of Lou Reed to Daniel Spencer’s vocals as well) and the amphetamine beat of 1970s Krautrock. They reach out to make new-world indie anthems but the songs often stick around for a bit too long to make them completely memorable. Even the key track here, “Falling Down The Stairs”, is guilty of this particular crime; by the time the song ends, I’ve lost interest in who is actually going to be falling down the stairs tonight. Six of the eight tracks here exeed the five minute mark and I’m not convinced that any of them need to; “Bulldozer Love” manages to make the strongest case but even it peters out at nearly nine minutes. Blank Realm could use an editor; there’s potential for a great pop band in here, but their kitchen-sink tendencies overshadow that throughout the entire album.