Reviews The Blind Shake Breakfast of Failures

The Blind Shake

Breakfast of Failures

The Blind Shake have been consistently banging out juicy, syncopatic jams for the better part of a decade now. Breakfast of Failures is their fifth full-length and, with it, continues the evolution. They’ve always been a concise group, focused on big stomping hooks within the confines of a pop structure, and they’ve slowly made their sound less homogenized in the process, branching deeper into psychedelic sounds and wallowing, doomy elements without actually becoming a band one would describe by using either of those adjectives. For lack of a better term, “garage rock,” is still where they predominantly reside.

The exploration of sounds that give depth without removing the urgency continues here on Breakfast. “Pollen” is a good example of where the band is at. While it features their unmistakable stomp, it wallows and bounces, stretching the limits of its confines for four minutes while delivering a build-up of manic energy, just contained, and a cathartic release without any tonal manipulation toward epic cheesiness. Instead, it rides a steady beat, building feedback and pedalwork while the tenor and bass guitars deliver a forceful highway surf-rock that ebbs and flows without tension. It’s masterfully contained within all that energy, never exploding into shards of vitriol and fury, instead pounding but positive. It’s followed by “Young Carnival Waste,” which continues that steady timekeeping but in a new key, with some creative breakdowns to change to flow of the song from its predecessor without abandoning the tone. While the lead (tenor) guitar explores psychedelia territory, it’s more forceful and to the point instead of getting lost in its self-importance. The noise within is a part of the song and not a way station.

Early work by the band was fast and quick, repetitive somewhat to a fault. With each record, the trio of Jim and Mike Blaha and Dave Roper has weaned that repetition down to an art form, leaving it where needed but filling the cracks with walls of new sounds—sounds typically reserved for dark sounding albums while the music from The Blind Shake is always a positive force. Predecessor Key To A False Door did get a bit gloomy, but the 29 minutes on Breakfast of Failures is urgent music, but still fitting for a sunny day.

8.5 / 10Loren
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