Album review: "In Blank"
Where the first Title Tracks album was essentially a solo project, the new “In Blank” features a full band. Yet this set is more stylistically single-minded than its predecessor. Singer-songwriter-guitarist John Davis (late of Q and Not U) emphasizes headlong power-pop. Even the lone cover, a version of the Flamin’ Groovies “I Can’t Hide,” fits snugly into the album’s brisk, trebly mode.
The main change-of-pace number, “Forget the Ghost,” has a mid-tempo MerseyBeat feel that suggests Davis’s previous band, the ’60s-struck Georgie James. (So does “It’s Wrong,” but with more thump.) Placed at the middle of the album, the song is a nice breather. But the trio promptly increases velocity, with bassist Michael Cotterman (a Washington Post employee) and drummer Andrew Black galloping like ’70s popsters who sense that punk is gaining on them.
If “In Blank” sounds like a tuneful blur on first listen, it soon reveals considerable craft. “Clench Your Fist (A Little Closer to Me)” shows Davis’s knack for lacing a sweet melody with tart sentiments; “All Tricks” withholds its chorus for half its running time, risking monotony but yielding a mini-catharsis. Such moments prove there’s as much smarts as power in this pop.
— Mark Jenkins, April 15, 2011