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Blag'ard - Blank Faced Clocks Review

by Patrick Muldowney

We have become so inundated with digital recording, it is very difficult to remember what music was like before quality recording became cheap, effectively moving musicians out of the raw, dungy garage. Blag'ard is a throwback. Maybe Blank Faced Clocks was recorded digitally, but Joe Taylor and Bill Buckley definitely bring the dirty, plodding, idle rock that I remember seeing with ten other androgynous individuals in Buddy Holly specs ages ago. The beer-soaked sound system weighs about 700 pounds, but only cost $75, the sound board badly needs its pots cleaned, but no one will ever care enough to clean them, and the basement floor is damp enough to shock Joe and Bill if they accidentally touch their lips to the mic. This is Blank Faced Clocks; an album designed for those who seek the hidden.

"Monk" is the perfect beginning to such a departure. The tempo is so retarded, and the distortion so past its proper peak, the music sounds like early metal, or early Polvo. The chorus, which asks, "Would you like to get to know the loneliest man ever", should be a mantra for this band. The loneliest band ever. The vocals sound a bit overdramatic, like Ween, but if this can be overcome, "Monk" is solid. The vocals temper a bit during "Losty", while the tempo jumps, which results in a rocking romp. This masterpiece is also where the "Blank Faced Clocks" reference is found; emblematic of where this track fits in importance to the 5-song EP.

In "Peaches In Cream", there is a guitar line, full of bending strings, during the verse similar to Built to Spill. The sexuality of the lyrics, wrought with frustrating images and guilt, put this in line with Sebadoh's "Homemade". Musically, throughout the EP Blank Faced Clocks is pretty consistent. The guitars keep a solid beat, while the guitar is distorted in such a way that chords are thick to a muddy degree, though individual strings are piercing (reverb). Lyrically, the EP is a bit more dynamic, at points masked in imagery, while other moments bring simple brutality. One of the latter moments arrives on "Friends Like You", where the witty "What's not the opposite is true", is followed by the stark, "With friends like you, who needs strangers."

Blag'ard is straightforward indie rock (although my RealPlayer is telling me it's Art Rock), but the stork who was sent out with this baby got sidetracked for more than a decade. Regardless of the time trap, Blag'ard is beauty in all its ugliness.

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