Hailing from Brisbane, Blank Realm consists of siblings Daniel Spencer (drums, vocal) Sarah Spencer (synth, vocal) and Luke Spencer (bass), along with their “Spiritual Brother” Luke Walsh (lead guitar, production). The band began as an improvised noise group in 2008, and released a string of more than a dozen albums before slowly beginning to incorporate melodic pop elements into their sound.
After a slew of releases on labels like Not Not Fun and Siltbreeze, the band finally arrived at 2014’s breakthrough album, Grassed Inn. The record combined the band’s experimental tendencies with a blossoming knack for pop hooks. Grassed Inn received critical acclaim, and was shortlisted for the 2014 Australian Music Prize, as well as Most Popular Artist and Album of the Year in the Queensland Music Awards.
Thus – to the present. 2015 saw Blank Realm release their latest sprawling mess of pop-psychedelia, Illegals in Heaven. Under the guidance legendary ambient artist and producer Lawrence English, the album sees Blank Realm relocate their sound from the outback toilet into a crumbling, many-roomed mansion. Never sitting on a particular style for too long, Illegals is a restless yet unified journey into the Australian mystic. The band are increasingly delving into meta-physical and obscurist topics, but the achieved result is as catchy as ever. Keen listeners will perhaps hear the influence of Felt, Wire, The Triffids, Devo, maybe even The Cure. Despite these multitudinous echoes, it is safe to say that there is nothing like Blank Realm. Long may they stay free.