In one sense, yes, Illegals in Heaven is Blank Realm's pop record, for gradually over the course of their career, the Brisbane art-punks have moved from outsider noise rock aiming to please the curators of all things obscure to easily identifiable song structures with shorter run times and predictable melodies. Yet, while continually making strides towards accessibility, the band still enjoy playfully fucking with everything they record by placing track upon track of melody, counter melody and white noise upon those simple songs.
Brisbane, Australia's Blank Realm have always had a gift for classically-styled new wave and punk melodies. It's just that they also have a mischievous, almost destructive side, anxious to wreck those perfect melodies with feedback and screech and all manners of playful fuckery. "River of Longing" cleans the process up considerably. The vocals are right out there, in the front of the mix, and all that wonderful fuckery bides its time in the background, waiting for the right moment to erupt. The right moment being that gloriously cacophonous ending.
Never thought much of Merchandise. Sure, the Tampa band had been all over your hipper music outlets for the past couple years, but for the life of ...