Sparse Illumination

Blackout Transmission

Etxe Records, 2021

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Even though they may come off like a UK band from around 1985 with their cautious, ominous punk and hazy shoegaze formula, Blackout Transmission, which is spearheaded by Christopher Goett (of Silo Halo fame), actually reside in sunny Los Angeles. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This eight-track album leads with the dense atmosphere of “Once There,” where the dreamy climate lands firmly somewhere between post-punk and shoegaze in its instrumental and '80s-friendly nods.

Things only get more interesting from there, as the darker quality of “Since She Guided You Away” deploys frontman Goett's deep vocals alongside Anthony Salazar's proficient drumming in the psyche-rock anthem, and “Tactile Responses” follows with Adam D'Zurilla's precise guitar work amid a hazy, space-rock tinted delivery. Side A exits on “Heavy Circles,” where swirling, noisey punk nods unfold with well-thought out basslines from Kevin Cluppert and Goett's versatile singing as plenty of warm grit surrounds the lush environment.

The back half of the listen is equally enjoyable, and opens with the bright melodies of the angular “Verdant Return,” while the beautifully textured “Pacifica” is both blurry and jangly while manipulating ambience strategically.

The final two tracks don't disappoint either, and include the more forceful and driving pace of “Portals,” before “Sleepwalking Again” exits the listen with a cosmic hint into their buzzing post-punk and neo-psychedelic ways.

As far as debut albums go, it just doesn't get any better than this. Despite relying heavily on guitars to fuel their often dense formula, synth is also used when necessary by Goetts and Holmes, and it all complements Goett's well-timed and underrated vocal presence.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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