By: Ross Edwards
Atlanta band Blame Game bursts with an intensity that belongs in the 90s metal category, since they bring nothing of the bright synth-driven optimism that characterizes new indie music. No, Blame Game is all cowboys with guitar straps, as the quartet pummels through mathy oddities with hardcore surf timbre, while remaining loose, rolling, and defiant. They are guitar leaders, the bass falling into step as a haunting undercurrent, the support below the rippling current of tense strings. They are thankfully not show-offs, concerned instead with the tight blend of wavering guitars as they blur into each other.
Each track is unpredictable, sounding less as songs than as movements in classical pieces, and willing to depart from the Slint-style dynamics that were effective twenty years ago for an aurally expansive approach. For example, an overblown saxophone adds sharpness to attenuated guitars on “Slidin’ Highway.” The song’s distant drums feel as if recorded in a basement or garage, with only enough space to keep the instruments from running together in some non-cohesive wash, even in the midst of cathartic feedback at the end. Vocals sometimes rear their head. The climax of “Slidin’ Highway” erupts with a majestic, massive young male’s voice, as if sung from another dimension frighteningly similar to our own.
“Lemon Drops” is particularly Don Caballero-esque, oozing with post-rock mystery and indecisive melancholy. The song floats about menacingly, and the epic “Clear Change” jangles its loping melodies. It walks the line between clear melodies, beautiful and uncommon, and ambling imprecision that is tenderly human amidst lonely and intense circumstances.