Album Review: Drawing Blanks – Take It Or Leave It EP – Real, gut-busting rock n’ roll
“I won’t try to analyze what you want…” is one of the main lines in the opening track of this album, which seems to embody the rock n’ roll attitude. It’s a sassy, trashy guitar anthem that feels like Zeppelin met someone a bit more grunge a few years later. It all blends for a phenomenal rock sound that has had me shaking in my boots since I discovered Drawing Blanks. If you’re a fan of real bluesy hard rock from what feels like a bygone era, you need to hear this album.
The opening “Take It Or Leave It” is an absolute hit. There are some powerful blues guitars that make me bear down on this one. It’s a fantastic sound that is both motivating and extremely relaxing at the same time. The riffs that this band pulls off absolutely stun me time after time.
“The Fear” is a bit more of a mouthful lyrically. There’s a lot happening with the song, but the guitars are still freaking amazing. The riffs just keep me coming back for more. There’s a hypnotic feeling in each sound they make. Then “Painful Life” comes along with a chill intro before the main song blows your eardrums right out. It’s a jam with a tad more distortion than it needs, but it sounds like a bad attitude dripping through the speakers.
I honestly can’t imagine hearing these guys live. I bet everyone walks out with blood pouring out of their ears. This is definitely not the typical jangly folk rock we typically cover on ETTG. No, this is some real, gritty and grungy rock. The blues runs on “Not Yet” are the kind that make you get chills up your spin and shake your head like you and BB King go way back. You know… you can taste the KC barbeque in the air just listening to them. Then “Heartbreak and Novocaine” comes along and punches you the other way across the face. The lead vocal on this one is dripping with depth and experience. It comes together with a charging, positively angry blues guitar, for a song that is equal parts intimidating and sad. “I can see it in your eyes… heartbreak and novocaine.” I’m not going to try to unpack this one totally, but it seems to be about someone who has pretty much shut him out. There’s a lot of pain in this one, that’s for sure.
“Dirty Love” sounds like it could have come out of the Stones discography. (Runs to check real quick) Pretty sure it isn’t. But yeah, it has the same kind of psychedelic guitar tone along with some fantastic groovy blues riffs. When the rhythm changes part way through you can just imagine the crowd going wild. It’s a rhythm designed for… uh, dancing.
This is the kind of album that isn’t really for everyone riding around suburbia in their minivans (present company included). It’s an album full of angst and bitterness, hatred and anxiety. It’s dirty and vile sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. On the contrary, it’s because of these themes – and the most beautifully trashy guitars I’ve heard in a long time – that you should give this album a shot. Maybe, actually, do a shot when you press play. You’ll hear why in short order.