The Blam are a four piece from New York, who specialise in punky guitar pop with sneery vocals. As you may have already gathered, the East Coast background is not the only thing they have in common with The Strokes. Indeed, on some tracks on this debut album, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to some out-takes from Is This It.
However, as role models go, The Strokes are pretty good ones. There are many other influences here as well, including Pavement, Velvet Underground and even some Beatles can be heard on some tracks here. Produced by the band and mastered by punk veteran Howie Weinberg, amongst others, the result is a polished, promising indicator of things to come. Just not the most original record ever made.
The punky thrash of You’re Making My Head Spin is pretty indicative of The Blam’s sound. Fuzzy guitars, a driving bassline and the yelping vocals of Jerry Adler all help to reassure listeners that the New York sound is alive and well. Acoustic strummer Let’s Go Away shows off the gentler side to the band, but it’s the more hectic stuff that works best here.
The more quirky material works equally well – 8546 sounds like John Lennon performing a Pavement cover, as bizarre as that sounds. The nagging chorus of “Iso, iso, isolation” will echo round many a listener’s head for hours on end. In fact some of the songs here could almost be described as annoyingly catchy – Some Marry For Love is especially contagious, and Brooklyn On My Mind could well become the band’s anthem.
There are possibly only two main faults with The Blam’s debut – firstly it can be a bit too derivate at times, but over time they are sure to develop their own sound. Secondly, the album is only 30 minutes long, which does seem a tad short. Still, despite these quibbles, this is a resounding success and establish The Blam as a name to watch. Their next record should be even better.