June 18, 2009

Blank Dogs
Under and Under

Brooklyn, NY

Under and Under marks the third full-length album from Blank Dogs, the brainchild of Brooklynbased artist Mike Sniper. Under and Under is quite simply a dark, glitchy amalgamation of all things 1980s. This first effort from the notorious DIY-er melds postpunk, new wave, goth-rock and pop into something that sounds as if Bauhaus and Chrome got together to put out a new album, but recorded it in a closet with a four-track and a Ouija board. The listener is launched into a frenzied world of haunting rhythms and psychedelic harmonies, as distorted vocals intone sinister promises.

Sniper’s lo-fi approach to the recording adds to the rather coarse sound and gives the album a less dancier, more grittier attitude. The opener “No Compass” is one of the best tracks on the album with its jangly melody and dissonant percussion and makes a lasting impression. “Setting Fire To Your House” is another gem that’s a little more upbeat and sounds the most like a lost Joy Division song.

Though you may not be compelled to shake your groove thing, you will be compelled to enjoy this CD over and over again. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of energy on the 15-track CD, which includes a special appearance by JB Townsend of Crystal Stilts and the lovely ladies of The Vivian Girls. Overall, the minimal instrumentation, macabre arrangements and haunting vocals make Under and Under quite the effective album and definitely worth a listen. (In the Red Records)
-Charley Lee

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