Whitesand/Badlands: Blank Czech/Humans, #1
Genre be damned: Whitesand/Badlands are a rock back with a solid core. With a drum intro that segues into a near-post-rock ambience, Whitesand/Badlands kick off their first official release. By the time Andy Larson takes the microphone, "Blank Czech" has already solidified itself as a piece of spacey rock too focused for shoegaze and too eerie for post-punk; think what might happen if Fugazi shifted attention away from the guitar. "Blank Czech" progresses and expands, hitting its grooves only to shift away before settling on a melody in the final minute. Sure, there are vocals, but they're far from the central point of the song. On "Humans #1," the three guitarists play off one another while Larson offers a steady harmony to keep the song moving forward. When Casey Holmgren's bass kicks off the chord progression, the song builds like waves on an ocean. Instead of a final crash, though, the waves rebound, retaining the wall of guitars but with Katie Grillaert commandeering the microphone as the song deconstructs in a noisy climax.
The members of this band have changed, and their first release is an adequate reflection of this, with the A-side featuring Holly Habstritt's piano and voice, and Ryan Parsons on drums. Side B represents the current incarnation with the addition of Grillaert and Steve Earnest on guitars and Adam Patterson taking over behind the kit, while Holmgren and Larson hold down the lineup throughout. Regardless of the musicians, the band maintains a consistent sound that makes for a surprisingly cohesive and promising debut.
WHITESAND/BADLANDS play a 7-inch release show with Tips 4 Twat and Blackcloud Stallionheart on FRIDAY, APRIL 16, at the 501 CLUB; 612.338.3848
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