Title Tracks – In Blank

Power poppers Title Tracks are back with In Blank, the energetic, quick-as-a-bunny-on-amphetamines follow-up to the “affable, pleasant experience” that was It Was Easy.

More of the same unfussy pop, brought to your beautiful ears with infectious guitar and well-crafted tunes, inhabits In Blank. John Davis, former drummer of Q And Not U, is Title Tracks – for the most part. Drummer Andrew Black and bassist Michael Cotterman also show up, but this is largely the maddening brainchild of Davis.

Coming off a series of U.S. tours with peeps like Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and Pretty & Nice, Title Tracks deliver strong on the new record. With the newest incarnation of the outfit having formed in the summer of 2010, it’s fitting that In Blank is out in time for the summer of 2011.

As it is, it’s a pretty solid summer pop record. The songs are, as expected, easy to digest and fun to listen to. Davis set out to explore the power pop of bands like The Mice, The Nerves, Any Trouble, and The Vertebrats, so the vibe clings tight to those mystical, tacit principles of, shall we say, garage pop.

In Blank settles on 10 original songs from Davis and a cover (the Flamin’ Groovies’ “I Can’t Hide”) to formulate its 32 brisk minutes. The pace is generally the same throughout each track, with rare exceptions. “Forget the Ghost,” with its weepy ’60s feel and Doric organ, may be one of those anomalies.

The majority of songs flirt like a chubby high schooler with elements of surf rock and garage pop. Whether it’s the purposeful plunge of “All Tricks” or the Elvis Costello-ish “Winners Cry,” In Blank knows what it wants and sinks its colourful little teeth in, blasting with precise rhythms and engaging chord changes. Davis’ vocals ride through it all, sometimes suitably buried in the mix.

Once again, Davis’ “less is more” credo is in full effect. The formula of It Was Easy was far from broken, so only minor tweaks to the arrangements take place here. With fun hooks and refrains the kids can sing along to, In Blank is a summer album to share with some pals and a glass of pink lemonade.

This was originally published as Music Review: Title Tracks – In Blank at Blogcritics.org


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