Nashville’s Blank Range recently released their EP, Vista Bent, on hometown powerhouse Thirty Tigers. The four song collection travels no distinct path or set of sonic moorings. Part cocaine country, part indie come garage rock, a few stoner, electronic brushstrokes and a heady, jazzier meld than most rock bands can muster. Vista Bent delivers in earthy tones politely obstructed by fuzzy guitars and few funky breaks. The songs hold resonance and weight, keenly mature and wildly youthful in between mere measures, the band able to bring the heat and slow it down to a steady simmer within the same ditty. A cacophony of titular sounds that shouldn’t work together but do; Lucero meets Spoon but had a few drinks with Lambchop on the way.
I always feel a band from Nashville has to keep a wider sense to not be sucked up and spit out by clichés and the ‘sound du jour’ the hipsters may fancy. Blank Range refreshes and perhaps quenches the thirst left from the dust kicked up when alt-country became Americana. A form of expression clenched by ex-punkers and bored white washed country fans alike, a common ground for tattooed hooligans and floppy hatted folks in pearl snaps. A scene that’s attracted way too much sugary sweet and not enough dirt in my modest opinion, Blank Range took the best of that original thought and ran with it whilst stabbing it with switchblades and boot spurs. Retooling and reworking the angle, what’s left is a deliciously left of center offering as a swift kick in the Americana arse, and a much needed one at that.
Originally published at Glide Magazine 11/23/16