Listen Up: Wednesday, September 8, 2004
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Blanche

If We Can’t Trust The Doctors ... (Cass Records)

By Matthew Smith

The Detroit sound conjures thoughts of garage, soul, and techno. Nevertheless, Blanche could be easily mistaken for something closer to Texas-grown than Motown. There’s good rockin’ here, for sure, but the pedal steel guitars, banjos, and forlorn vocals keep the country feel firmly in command.

On Blanche’s latest, If We Can’t Trust The Doctors ..., the band weaves a pitch-perfect brew, down-home enough to seduce both the discerning C&W fan who knows Pat Green ain’t where it’s at and the random indie rock casualty. As a matter of fact, co-founders and wedded couple Dan and Tracee Mae Miller formerly played in Two-Star Tabernacle, Jack White’s pre-White Stripes band. (Speaking of White, he appears, guitar in hand, on “Who’s To Say.” Corker of a tune though it is, it’s by no means the only worthy moment.)

Think of the Millers as that other married couple-band, the Handsome Family, with a pinch less black humor but all the creeping dread intact. Blanche’s rollicking music typically delivers joy that the lyrics casually contradict.

A single line from “So Long Cruel World” wraps up the band in a nutshell. “All my dreams are finally coming true,” Dan sings, “but did I mention all my dreams are nightmares?”

Mournful and haunting in the funniest of ways, If We Can’t Trust The Doctors could play equally at home over the sound systems of both Billy Bob’s and the Wreck Room.


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