Reviews The Blind Shake Seriousness

The Blind Shake


It’s Seriousness indeed for The Blind Shake. The Minneapolis three-piece plays concise, to the point garage rock. From their matching trek suits to drummer Dave Roper’s emphatic beats, the band has an air of professional dedication when they take the stage that’s distinct in a genre that seems to pride itself on sloppiness. The band has been alternating records between their solo group and with noisemaster Michael Yonkers on guest vocals. Seriousness is the band’s first “solo” full-length since 2007’s Carmel and the progression in that time is clear.

The Blind Shake define themselves with a tight-knit sound of syncopated, buzzsaw guitars and powerful drumming over bullet-paced songs that rarely top three minutes. It only took a few songs on their debut to introduce their signature sound, and it’s been a steady growth since. While there is a definite sameness in their approach, the nuance and energy override the formula—and the brevity helps overcome any similarities. It only takes fifteen seconds on Seriousness , when the well-timed chords really kick up the juice in “Hurrican,” to be clear that this release isn’t a departure. The song delivers a familiar, urgently rocker with such precision that the Blaha brothers’ vocals are nearly tribal. Still, while there are several familiar sounding tracks here, such as “Out of Work” and “I’m Not an Animal,” the band has been building on that base sound, adding levels of distortion and noise, and hints of more classic styles like psychedelia and surf. These influences seep underneath the primary core, complementing the song rather than pulling it in different directions.

For all the exploration that the band is doing underneath the surface, they never stray from their primary formula. “No Rags,” the longest song on the record—and one that ties in a detuned surf line—still only clocks in at 2:47. Combined with 2009’s album with Yonkers, Cold Town/Soft Zodiac, this marks some of their best, and most varied, work. They branch out even further with acoustic guitars and a touch of blues in “Hand Me Downs,” and the squealing distortion in “O’Rider” provides a contrasting energy to the haunting tone without losing their signature crunch.

The band continues to grow their sound, adding nuance, depth, and a subtle heaviness that never offsets the melodic touches of their defined chords and easy to memorize song structures. Rather than re-invent themselves with each record, The Blind Shake continue to grow and improve. In its thirteen songs, Seriousness packs a fast punch. It’s the kind of record that you play all day on repeat, instead of just once and then file back on the shelf.

8.1 / 10Loren
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8.1 / 10

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