Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation

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Release Date: September 1977

Photo: Roberta Bayley/Getty

It’s nearly unimaginable someone would think they could do better than Television. The very fact that band leader Richard Meyers left the band he formed, an incredible band at that, is testament to his belief in his vision. Of course nothing is ever so simple. There was tension in the band, and he figured he could do things his own way, so he did. And succeeded in doing so.

The album starts with the supremely catchy “Love Comes in Spurts”, which starts with an incredibly memorable music passage, before launching into the high-energy “Liars Beware”, complete with some of the neatest guitar parts you’ll ever hear, far beyond the capabilities of many of their punk contemporaries. “New Pleasure” is a short, fun track that contrasts starkly with the slower, more considered “Betrayal Takes Two”, which also contains some short bursts of slightly dissonant guitar leads.

Next up, “Down At the Rock and Roll Club” picks the pace back up and displays the bands more mainstream rock influences, though of course in the spirit of punk rock, at a faster-than-typical tempo. I don’t know how to better describe “Who Says?” than just being… cool. The guitar work is again, super intricate and impressive. This band is made up of incredibly talented musicians and the band doesn’t let you forget that fact for long. Even though the music is stripped down relative to bands in other rock-based genre’s at the time, i.e., it is after all some form of punk rock – vocals, guitars, bass, and drums are all you’ll find here – these guys can play incredibly well.

The albums name sake, and in fact a song Meyers wrote while in Television, “Blank Generation”, displays a couple more of the bands stylistic influences and highlights the bands proclivity towards writing impressive vocal melodies atop their intricate songwriting and musicianship.

The rest of the album turns down the energy a bit, with “The Plan” acting as a breather before the lengthy, almost jam band-like final track “Another World”, though this track is pulled together intermittently by the vocal hook, which gives it a sense of cohesion.

Blank Generation may not quite beĀ Marquee Moon, and it didn’t have the same level of impact, but to this set of ears, these were songwriters who sound like they were cut from the same cloth – writing quality songs and featuring sonic elements that quite possibly put them closer together than any other combination of bands that’d feature one of these bands could. Impressive in its own right, for sure, but this is not to diminish Meyers’ own contributions and abilities. Blank Generation is indeed a great album. One of the best of its time period.

Highlights: “Love Comes In Spurts”, “Liars Beware”, “Who Says?”, “Blank Generation”
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
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