Reviews The Blind Shake Key to a False Door

The Blind Shake

Key to a False Door

It’s no secret to long-time site readers that I’m a fan of The Blind Shake. The Minneapolis trio has released a run of albums now, both on their own and with psychedelic luminary Michael Yonkers. All the while, their distinct sound continues to evolve. Starting as, to coin a term, a power-crunch band, it’s moved more heavily into distortion and somewhat sprawling garage rock, ultimately hitting its new peak with Key to a False Door on Castle Face Records.

All this talk of evolution and changing sound, though, suggests that The Blind Shake is a changed band. They are not. Jams like “Garbage on Glue” and “Viva la Misery” would fit will with their back catalogue, and closing stomper “555 Fade” could easily have been on the Cold Town/Soft Zodiac release. 

Usually when a critic speaks of evolution, it means “they were better before.” Not in this case. While it’s perhaps too early to play the album ranking game, Key to a False Door is definitely among their top releases, taking that well-defined tightness in their sound and giving an elastic encasement. The songs haven’t so much changed as they’ve grown. Early records suffered a bit from the sameness factor (often overshadowed because of their brevity). Now, the songs still rarely top three minutes (just one song goes over 3:02), but the content is less uniform. Dark psychedelic noise jams have infiltrated their way into the songs but, in that process, the quick punch of a three-minute song held true. Where many bands would stomp on their pedals and draw out the cool effects, Blind Shake instead surgically installs these elements without wearing their songs thin. In other words, the band likes to experiment, but the final product remains careful and trim: the point of the songs is to deliver a quick punch and not take the listener down a meandering path.

The key differences between this and older records are in the vocals, which have a clearer, more distinct feel as the different members sing. In the past, it was hard to differentiate voices, but not as much this time around. The vocals in “Porto Alegre” have a crisp sound that brings Marked Men to mind, and later the sludgy “Le Pasion” has some pedal-heavy Ty Segall vibes. The band has always had a few instrumental stompers, but there seem to be a few more on this one. “Monofactory” is a romper and closer “555 Fade” are both standouts. The nuance has helped to complete the package. The songs are still quick and direct, but some of the repetitive nature is nullified. Now the only repetitive part comes in the form of my listening habits.

8.9 / 10Loren
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

8.9 / 10

8.9 / 10

Share this content
Related features

Music Scene Point Blank's Favorites: The Year So Far (July 2015)

Posted July 5, 2015, 3:42 p.m.

That's right: this year is already half empty. Or half full. Something like that? Metaphors aside, we at SPB have distilled the best music ...

One Question Interviews The Blind Shake

Posted Feb. 7, 2015, 12:27 a.m.

Mike Blaha (The Blind Shake) SPB: You have now released records on a lot of labels. What do you enjoy about changing affiliation with each ...

One Question Interviews The Blind Shake

Posted Dec. 11, 2013, 6:44 p.m.

Jim Blaha (The Blind Shake) SPB: What is my day job and how does it affect my schedule as a musician? Blaha: Well, right now ...

Advertisement
Radio K 2
More by The Blind Shake

The Blind Shake

Celebrate Your Worth

7.9 / 10 The Blind Shake - Celebrate Your Worth album cover

I’ve covered The Blind Shake for most of their career so far. Over that time it’s been a steady growth often focused on syncopated and rhythmic rock: forceful, punchy, and ...

The Blind Shake

Fly Right EP

7.5 / 10 The Blind Shake - Fly Right EP album cover

The Blind Shake have honed their sound over the years, always identifiable yet always moving it forward and with a keen difference between records. It’s pretty impressive considering they write ...

The Blind Shake

Breakfast of Failures

8.5 / 10 The Blind Shake - Breakfast of Failures album cover

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 ...

Related news

Records The Blind Shake in Live in San Francisco series

Posted June 3, 2015, 4:32 p.m.

Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake, who released the Fly Right EP earlier this year in addition to a collaboration with John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt), have announced a live ...

Records Stream The Blind Shake's Fly Right

Posted April 14, 2015, 5:10 p.m.

Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake, who released Breakfast of Failures last year and a collaborative surf project with John Reis in early 2015, have a new EP, Fly Right, out ...

Labels Slovenly announces new Blind Shake and Useless Eaters releases

Posted Feb. 17, 2015, 10:04 a.m.

On April 14, Slovenly has announced two new releases. 1, an EP from The Blind Shake titled Fly Right, and 2, a collection record from Useless Eaters, Singles: 2011-2014, which ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.