Title Tracks

In Blank

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The first Title Tracks album It Was Easy was all John Davis (with the addition of guest vocals from Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell), the band’s second album, In Blank, features Davis backed by his rough and ready live band of bassist Michael Cotterman and drummer Andrew Black. This move means that the slick, almost smooth feel of It Was Easy is changed out for a scrappy, live-wire approach. In Blank has a live-in-the-studio, plug-in-and-crank-‘em-out sound that fits well with the simple and punchy batch of songs Davis wrote for the album. He’s not the kind of songwriter who makes you wait long for the chorus, and when it hits, you’ll find yourself singing right along. Whether a careening rocker, a midtempo love song, or a cover of the Flamin’ Groovies' “I Can’t Hide” (no ballads!), just about every song here is like a lost '70s power pop classic: the spiky guitars, tightly wound bass and drums, and close vocal harmonies sound like they could come clad in suits and skinny ties, but to his credit Davis scuffs them up with enough dirt and scuzz to keep them from being even a tiny bit precious. The production has a nice, barely there quality, letting the band just get down to the business of rocking without any tricks or distractions, and coming over AM radio tough and tinny. The record may not have the same depth and variety that It Was Easy had, but as a document of what a Title Tracks show in 2011 sounds like, it’s pretty much perfect.

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