It seems that rock music is becoming more and more cynical these days. Originally it was the last bastion of authenticity, where bands were serious about their craft and if anybody else liked it then that was a bonus.
OK so maybe any sweaty young thing who picked up a guitar had one eye on the private jet, another on the sex and money, and that mysterious third eye opened widely with copious quantities of drugs but at least it felt that underneath it all they really meant it. It felt like they had to make music whether they wanted to or not. Recently guitar music has become more and more formulaic, with all eyes on the money and no thought on the music at all. Is it coincidental that guitar based rock has become more and more boring?
The Blakes don’t sound like they have a lot of cash, it’s possible they only have one pair of jeans between them, but they do sound like they have to make music. The first thing you have to be aware of is that nothing they do is entirely original. You’ll notice that within seconds. It’s not entirely important though, because what The Blakes do make great music.
Recent single Don’t Want That Now bought to mind the likes of The Strokes, and the whole New York New Wave scene. This sound is represented fairly heavily across the album, Commit, Don’t Want That Now, and Streets all sound like they’re dressed in sharp clothes and are topped off with the greatest haircut you’ve ever seen.
Elsewhere, The Blakes pay homage to a more dirty gritty style. The incessant pounding dirge of Vampire has a more British sound to it calling to mind the dirty leathers and a more gothic The Jesus And Mary Chain. Like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club before them The Blakes are all too aware of the impact of dirty grimy guitars and perfectly drawled vocals. Lie Next To Me pulls off the combination perfectly, powered with an engine of finely honed riffs and attitude. It fizzes and cuts all the right shapes and proves that The Blakes not only know their history, but are striving to create a bit of their own.
There’s a little bit of a Stones influence here too, which can be found in the electric opening track Two Times as it explodes into a turbo charged blues fuelled by rejection and drugs and booze. Garnet Keim’s vocals are taut and flexed, he sings like he might just puke his pelvis if it wasn’t too busy assisting his legs in a snake hipped saunter. Modern Man has a certain amount of Stones about it too, Keim pulling his best Jagger impersonation out of the bag, which to be fair, is more than Jagger is capable of these days.
I’m pleased to announce that Lint Walk not withstanding (it appears to have pan pipes on it) every track here is boiling with what sounds like authentic, and most importantly, exciting, rock. The Blakes mean it, and while they aren’t re-writing the rule book, they’re still making a pretty good noise.