Most bands classified as “garage rock” approach the genre with a fetish for sloppiness and loosey-goosey indulgence; in other words, like a bunch of hippies. Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake, on the other hand, comes at it with the militaristic precision of a hardcore band, dispensing with the solos and boozy hollering, and attacking with concise, laser-point body blows. After an extended dalliance with outsider noise-guitarist Michael Yonkers on 2007’s Carbohydrates, Hydrocarbons and 2009’s Cold Town EP, The Blind Shake get back down to the business of brutality on Seriousness. The album’s surf-rock influence is a natural evolution, since it’s one of only musical genres outside of speed metal that can satisfy the band’s craving for constant, rapid forward motion. “Hurracan,” “No Rags,” and the positively evil “O’rider” are all about the mania created by the furiously fleet sound of detuned guitars played by brothers Mike and Jim Blaha colliding violently over the caveman stomping of Dave Roper. Occasionally The Blind Shake slows down for a psychedelic excursion, like on the surly “Busy Body” and the Frankie-and-Annette-go-to-hell trip “On Me.” But even when the pace slows, the intensity never lets up. Like any good basement show, Seriousness only lasts for about 30 minutes. But the bruises it leaves take days to heal.
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