Blank Realm – Illegals In Heaven
Blank Realm are an Australian band that define the term “middle-tier”. They are a bellwether of what people are talking about when they’re talking about mainstream indie – arpeggiated near-ballads indebted to the Stone Roses broken up with the occasional more uptempo number. They’ve never been anything particularly special, and Illegals In Heaven doubles down on this middle-of-the-road oblivion. The album kicks off in an exciting enough manner with “No Views”, a garaged-up number that kicks along in a more galvanizing fashion than they’ve ever really managed before. Unfortunately, it falls apart quickly after with songs that lounge and snooze rather than rally; “Costume Drama” and “Palace of Love” make an attempt at getting the party started again but it’s largely an abortive effort. Illegals In Heaven tries to trade in on mid-tempo balladry to fill out its scant ideas, and tellingly said ballads are nowhere near the league of the uptempo pieces.
“Too Late Now”, the final track, exemplifies the real problems with this album: it’s slavish Stone Roses worship with a ham-fisted attempt at being edgier with the vocal, and it only half-works. It passes the time well enough, but nothing sticks around after the fact, like a dream that gets scattered and lost upon waking.