Published Aug 07, 2020Beyond These Walls, the debut EP by Toronto-based power popsters BLANKS, is so great I wish it were a full-length album. Packing a new wave-tinged punch, the four-track EP is something deeply entrenched in present-day anxieties, but clothed in a strangely familiar sound — the trappings of an instant classic.
The words speak to complex and contemporary anxieties and sadnesses. Consider the cramped music video for "Looking For," which nods to the overbearing feeling of the end of times that's damping our thoughts. Guitarist Lewis Caunter's voice at the end of the track haunts like a heartbreaking wail. Likewise, the final track "Lemon Juice" conveys a sadistic kind of hope, all the more relatable because of its fallibility. The lyrics on this track, and indeed the entire EP, don't sandpaper the prickliness of these ideas and feelings — the words are cerebral and febrile in a brief sort of way, like Joan Didion's hyphenated prose.
The music, meanwhile, is reminiscent of something you might have grown up with: the guitars roar like in a Blondie song — becoming deep, smoky, and guttural on "Red Tide" — and lead singer Dylan Taylor's voice is so much like Brandon Flowers's, beautiful and broad, but also controlled. This band has a keen ear for hooks, and each track is a perfect unit unto itself, expertly crafted.
Beyond These Walls will get you thinking but also dancing, but also maybe sad. Regardless, it will leave you wanting more. (Independent)