By Jacob Connor
Gerda:Blank is a raucous and rudimentary blues duo in the vein of the Black Keys, the White Stripes or The Hasselhoff Experiment. The CD was recorded by Danny Manetto from Voom at volume, live in a room somewhere (actual details are sketchy). This method gives a sense of a dim and dank acoustic space, but inevitably also sacrifices sonic detail. The action is focused in the midrange frequencies (snare, voice and guitar), leaving Stuart Mills' lonely kick drum partially submerged. The gritty, monochromatic approach works for the style, but the offhand, one-take nature of the project also feels halfway between a band practice recording and a demo. Sweet & Sour makes an impression as a manic garage blues, and Rhys Braddock displays a fine, engaging voice and some lilting guitar. Higher Shadows rides a Dylanesque rockabilly beat, while closer The Curse flirts with Joy Divisionish atmosphere and repetition before busting into syncopated stabs. Slightly out-of-focus and slightly unfinished, 'O' is nevertheless a loathsome swamp creature. I'm not sure this is the best showcase for Gerda:Blank's talent, but some of it is clearly evident here.