I suppose it’s time to welcome dance-infused punk as a not-so-strange sub-category of punk rock. Sure, we should have seen it coming with the New York Dolls and Sandinista!-era Clash, though it became even more clear with the Faint and, recently, Matt Skiba’s Heavens project.
So where do the Static Age fit in? Their Misfits similarities can probably end at their name, which in all fairness likely works out to their benefit. Blank Screens is another punk album that isn’t really a punk album. What the Static Age do is draw from a number of musicians who are (were) punk and end up creating something distinct. Think of how the Postal Service fit into our little sphere.
The Static Age performs best on disc when concentrating on heavily moody and intricate melodies sure to equally win over fans of the Cure or recent AFI. Andrew Paley’s are smooth and easy on the ear, although gloomy through and through. Keyboardist Sarah-Rose Cameron is the one most responsible for the overall feel the Static Age present on Blank Screens. Throughout the album, the music presents itself in a very organic way -- which is no easy accomplishment when writing heavily electronic music. I suppose what I mean by that statement is that Blank Screens doesn’t develop its personality through production alone, which is what seems to be status quo amongst their contemporaries.
When the band does fall short, and they only make a few noteworthy stumbles, it’s when they rely too heavily on the simplicity and take a more pop-punk approach, which happens both lyrically and musically from time to time. At times Blank Screens comes off as a little too melancholy, which worked well while writing the review during the tail-end of a hurricane in eastern Canada. However, give me a sunny day and that complaint will certainly carry more weight.
That the fellas from the Explosion saw enough in the Static Age to sign them to Tarantulas and that is going to give the band all the cred they’ll need to bust into punk tours and record store shelves. While they wouldn’t have made it to such a point even five years ago, there’s a space for this type of music within punk rock now, and the Static Age are doing it fairly well.
Is Blank Screens a landmark album in electronic punk? Certainly not. However, if one was to say it’s a solid release in a genre that seems to often stumble while going through its growing pains, then one would be entirely correct.