Although Brisbane’s Blank Realm have been releasing music since around 2007, Go Easy is the Australian quartet’s first widely available album. After years of limited vinyl, CDR and cassette affairs for the likes of Not Not Fun, Music Your Mind Will Love You and Bedroom Suck Records, the foursome has finally found a label to push them into the wider world, in the shape of Fire Records. The timing is almost impeccable from a creative viewpoint. Originally snuck out on the aforementioned and charmingly named Bedroom Suck Records at the tail end of 2012, Go Easy has ‘sleeper hit’ stamped on its every crotchet and quaver.
Having formerly filed themselves next to other purveyors of neo-psychedelic rock emanating from more Stateside outposts, Go Easy finds siblings Daniel, Luke and Sarah Spencer, together with Luke Walsh, embracing a more genre-straddling and scene-transcending approach that pays multiple dividends across its eight rapturously sculpted tracks.
The awesome “Acting Strange” breaks the seal superbly with a Jesus Lizard-flavoured bass judder that is soon joined by a nervy Evol/Sister-era Sonic Youth guitar salvo and infectiously feverish vocals, which all healthily compete for a position in the multi-layered mix. In its wake, the expansive “Cleaning Up My Mess” goes for a more languid – yet still unkempt – aesthetic that cross-breeds primetime Royal Trux loucheness with the boisterous yet melodic warped-pop of early-Mercury Rev. The ensuing “Working On Love” cranks up a rambunctiously raw Ty Segall-like groove that is ensnared by an insistent vocal hook that may require surgical removal for some listeners.
Further in, the sublimely sinister “Growing Inside” brings the languor/loudness dynamics of “Cleaning Up My Mess” back into earshot before “The Crackle Pt.1” and “The Crackle Pt.2” through curveballs into proceedings. The hiccupping yet dreamy “Pt.1” finds Sarah Spencer assuming lead vocals to deliver a mean Kim Gordon homage that wouldn’t sound out of place on Daydream Nation, whilst “Pt.2” goes into abstract percussion-looping and vocal-treating sound collage territory that acts as a fine scene-shifting interlude before the record’s grand finale. Hence, as the record rolls to its conclusion the epic “Pendulum Swing” takes the Springsteen-does-space-rock baton of The War On Drugs and runs even further with it, over eight blissful synth-assisted crescendo-building minutes. The title-track then closes the collection with some likeable slurred low-slung electric blues that proves that the group can also take slightly more conventional turns without coming boringly unglued.
Even though Go Easy wears its influences unashamedly and seeks to portray an arch-casualness, it is neither lazily derivative nor clumsily composed. In fact, there is an impressive and ambitious sense of craftsmanship across the record that captures Blank Realm on the cusp of something truly special. A treasurable career-changing gold nugget in short.