Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Fear of the Cat-Girl

March 13, 2009

Blag’ard – Bobcat

I have to admit something. In the stack of CDs Stephen gave me to review over the last several weeks, I put Bobcat by Blag’ard toward the bottom of the stack. Why? Because the girl in the cat-ish costume on the front and back gave me the heebie-jeebies.

That being said, I finally gave the disc a spin and not just so that I could remove the creepy cat-girl from my desk. It’s a good release, though ultimately not particularly understanding.

Blag’ard is a duo made up of Joe Taylor on guitar and Adam Brinson on drums. Perhaps I’m biased because I started out playing bass, but I’ve always found guitar/drum duos to be precarious and hard to pull off. The White Stripes and The Black Keys manage it, but without that low-end provided by the bass, a guitar/drum duo can often feel very incomplete. Unfortunately, Blag’ard falls victim to that in several places.

Luckily, Taylor’s guitar work is compelling enough the majority of the time to propel the music and make it sound more complete. He hits the mark much better on some songs than he does on others. In the second and third tracks, “Shame” and “REM Show,” Taylor plays the higher frets frequently, and the two songs even have similar riffs. With “Shame” clocking in at nearly five minutes and “REM Show” at just shy of three minutes, it makes for a painfully exhausting series of guitar wailing and high vocals.

From there, though, the balance is found again and persists well throughout the album. But, from here Blag’ard falls victim to a common problem: the songs all start to blend together. Even after repeat listens, there isn’t a single song that really stood out from the others. It becomes hard to tell where one song ends and another begins and ultimately it’s hard to really get into the album.

There’s some strong musicianship here, but the songwriting needs a little less monotony.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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