On his new 4-song EP Phrases, Blank Dogs (AKA Mike Sniper) has cleaned up his sound. His vocals are no longer buried under layers of distortion and his guitars and synths sound crisper and clearer. Previously, Blank Dogs songs lived and died based on their hooks; this wasn’t a huge problem because Sniper has an easy way with both dour, deceptively melodic Joy Division-sounding hooks and bouncy, B-52s sounding melodies, but it often felt like he was hiding some of his personality behind a cheap microphone, content to write lo-fi post punk songs powered by catchy three chord choruses and his baritone, Ian Curtis-in-a-Brooklyn-basement voice.
Expanding on the roughed-up synth pop sound of Under and Under‘s “Setting Fire To Your House” and “The New Things,” Phrases‘ “Heat and Depression” and “End of Summer” are sequencer driven anthems about the kind of summer where extreme heat exacerbates an emotional breakdown. “Blurred Tonight,” with its circular guitar lines and sparkling synth wash, is maybe one of the catchiest songs Blank Dogs have ever written. “Racing Backwards” is the only song on the EP that feels like a throwback to an older sound and, while it’s by no means bad, it suffers from comparison to the other three. – The Decibel Tolls
Tracklist: Heat & Depression / Blurred Tonight / Racing Backwards / End Of Summer
Captured Tracks CT-050