The Blankz continue to crank out quality releases at an impressive rate. Their latest is Getting Over You a two track single, which also features a song called Barfly. One might expect a song called “Getting Over You” to be a dreary and sappy romantic number, but in fact this song is energetic and action packed. It does in fact deal with the theme of getting over heartbreak, but in an upbeat and triumphalist kind of way. The sound could be described as “pop punk,” but musically these songs are much more sophisticated. This band more or less has its own style which combines golden age punk authenticity with genres like new wave.Getting Over You features a killer organ/synth bridge about two-thirds into the song. What’s interesting intellectually about this track though is the way love is described in terms one would normally use to describe experiences with drugs. With lyrics such as “when your love was pumping through my veins and “once I had you in my brain” we get the sense that getting over this particular instance of love is the equivalent of finally making it out of the withdrawal phase of having to give up any kind of vice. The language is very clinical, thus further illustrating his growing detachment from the failed romance.
Barfly deals more with the creatures of the nightlife and their hunger to keep busy (“gotta find something to do!”) and find reprieve from the drab day to day and mundane punching of the clock. Even the term “punch the clock” evokes imagery associated with the most boring and soul crushing jobs…the ones where you can’t wait for the day to end so your actual life can begin.
Both of these songs are musically phenomenal and the production is excellent. The Blankz are quickly becoming one of the most prolific bands in Arizona. I’ve reviewed several of their releases now and have been impressed every time.
You wouldn’t know from their music that The Blankz (a Phoenix based band) formed as recently as 2017. Their new EP/single, White Baby, is so tightly put together musically that if I had been too lazy to read the group’s bio, I would just have assumed they must have been playing together for at least a decade. Their music falls somewhere within the realm of “weirdo pop punk.” It has a very 90’s vibe to it, not in a gimmicky kind of way, it’s just that you’d almost have to go back that far to find this style of music being put out at this level of quality. In a deeper sense though, White Baby brings people back to a more innocent era, the pre-9/11 days before confrontational politics and war dominated the discussion in our everyday lives. I’m talking about those 105 degree summer nights spent skateboarding and loitering at suburban Phoenix strip malls (yes I’m from here as well,) when our most heated arguments were over bands and girls. Our tense confrontations were mostly reserved for our interactions with the security guards about to kick us out of the same spot for the millionth time.
White Baby features solid playing, quirky lyrics, and perhaps most importantly…substance. Yes, wrapped up in White Baby’s musical bundle of joy is a theme about the songwriter’s identity. Tommy Blank is white but was apparently adopted into a Mexican family. The song subtly relates his struggles with identity growing up within this unconventional familial arrangement. It is all presented in an upbeat, fun and energetic musical context. The lyrics are extremely catchy, and if you listen to this song even once, the chorus will stick with you. The video for White Baby takes on a kind of desert rockabilly aesthetic, interspersing vintage home movie footage with present day shots of the band around town.
There is a second jam on this release as well. The song Sissy Glue boasts some killer synth, the vibrato of which resonates throughout the song. The tone is reminiscent of action oriented battle music in old school games like Double Dragon. Sissy Glue contains lyrics concerned with huffing, but really the track is about so much more. It’s sort of a coming of age story told in a very creative way. The synth on this EP is notable because it is what separates the band’s sound it from so many other bands in this genre.
White Baby/Sissy Glue is quite simply, badass. Living in Phoenix, this is easily one of the coolest current bands in the valley, and I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard anything about them until now.