Blinker the Star‘s latest release, 11235, exists somewhere between futuristic and retro. The opening track, “Under Night’s City Moon,” is a piano ballad that sounds like equal parts Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground. It is followed by “Century Of The Self,” which is much more upbeat and modern, like a mix between Tame Impala‘s melodic, psychedelic noise, and the post-punk dance vibe of Shiny Toy Guns. The haunted and panicked background harmony vocals sound both angelic and tortured. The rest of the EP stays within the stylistic realm of this song ultimately creating an outsider charm for the track, “Under Night’s City Moon.” The possibility for multiple listens is this EP’s greatest strength. It is short, consistent, and catchy, and I found myself wishing there was more to it. Every single time.
“Wolf Eyes Through The Smoke” is slower and covered in synths. The usually scorching guitar is demoted to a quiet rhythmic role without compromising the band’s catchy but cacophonous signature sound. “Ride A Dragon Upon St. George” starts dark and menacing with droning synths that, like “Century Of The Self,” are reminiscent of Pink Floyd. This atmosphere, however, is short-lived and it unexpectedly shifts into a high-gear, fast-paced, almost-punk song. The drumming in its first minute and a half is punishing, and is the first and only time the instrument really stands out on the record. To counteract the song’s raucous nature it also features beautiful Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies and, as the song winds down, it once again adopts the dark and slow atmosphere.
“The Watcher” is the only song on the EP that doesn’t really stand out, aside from the repeated clanging piano note that reminds me of Kanye West‘s “Runaway.” The album’s only other weakness is the voice of the lead singer, Jordon Zadorozny. It’s often flat and nasally, made melodic and interesting only by effects and rare fits of emotion.
Overall 11235‘s mix of familiar and futuristic sounds makes it a comforting and interesting listen. Blinker the Star’s history in the Canadian alt-rock scene, having been founded in the early 90s, has moulded them into talented musicians and competent songwriters capable of creating a sound that is both chaotic and catchy.
Written by Brian Charles Clarke
*edited by Danielle Kenedy