Several bands in the world just happen to land on the same name choice. It happens. Blank Pages is one of those bands. With Blank Pages bands in Germany, as well as a Christian band in Indiana and another rock band in Delaware, it’s just a situation that can’t be stopped. The main thing that separates this band from those other versions is the New Jersey Blank Pages’ style and originality when it comes to writing, playing and performing their particular brand of pop rock music. The band has enjoyed a superlative amount of stage time, and after breaking a seven-year hiatus with their 2018 album Before Your Summer Fades, Blank Pages is back in 2019 with a fresh EP, Into the Ether.

  From somewhere amid the suburban sprawl of southern New Jersey comes Blank Pages’ brand of indie pop. Led by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Greg Potter, the band has been creating their unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll for more than 20 years. It’s a familiar story. Hearing a Beatles record for the first time at age 5 fueled Potter’s obsession with melodic rock music. He took up the guitar, started writing songs, and recorded so many demos on his four-track cassette machine that the heads wore out. Potter formed Blank Pages in college to focus on his evolving melodic, guitar-driven power pop.

  The group’s influences are mainly old school but are varied. Their influences include Badfinger, Beach Boys, Beatles, Big Star, Byrds, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, Electric Light Orchestra, Jason Falkner, Jellyfish, Kinks, Knack, Paul McCartney and Wings, Matthew Sweet, Monkees, Pearlfishers, Police, Raspberries, Sloan, Superdrag, Velvet Crush, XTC, and the Who.

  Potter leads the band through their ongoing exploration of melodic, guitar-driven indie pop by pairing finely crafted melodies with thought-provoking themes. This time around, their journey examines the cosmic forces that pull us together and tear us apart. Potter is joined by the super-capable assist of Jason Brown on bass and guitars, and Ed McCaffrey on drums.

 

  The bands main single, “Into the Ether,” is described as the “quintessential Blank Pages mixing an irresistible power pop track that features tuneful guitars, swirling synths, and melodic harmony. The song is an ode to friends with the supernatural ability to bring us together. And how those ties can explode when they have gone.” I also took a listen to the song and got some great 1980s pop nuances out of the song. As a big fan of bands such as The Records, The Romantics, and The Knack, “Into the Ether” contains many great influential components of those icons. The composition itself is a relatively perfect pop-flavored rock song and flows from start to finish. Top-shelf songwriting blends with addictive choruses, harmonious vocals, and smooth backing harmonies. Guitars go from melodic, jangly pop rock chord progressions to hooky riffs, and Mike Campbell-styled leads. Bass and drums anchor everything tightly, and synths add just enough sizzle to keep things interesting. Potter is an ace vocalist, and his tone is both pleasing and seasoned. The EP contains four fascinating tunes in all, and while it’s a bit too short for my tastes, I understand the reason for doing it like this.

  Other songs on the EP include “Let it Flow,” a peppered piece that pairs jangling guitars with a stream of consciousness lyrics that celebrate the inspiration that comes from peacefulness and our connection to others. In the acoustic-driven “Snapshots,” Potter recounts a recurring vision of a long-lost connection that spans so many years, he can no longer remember if it was a dream or reality.

  The EP closes with “Welcome to the Unknown,” a tuneful rock track punctuated by vintage synths, pianos, and guitars. It brings the listener full circle: back into life’s ether where the only certainty is uncertainty.

  Into the Ether is Blank Pages’ sixth release on FDR Label, featuring Potter on guitar and lead vocals, Jason Brown on bass and guitar, Ed McCaffrey on drums.

  The band’s five prior releases on the FDR Label include Before Your Summer Fades, Absolute Uncertainty, On My Street, 45 & 33, and Funny Pages.

  The FDR label is a small New Jersey indie label with a big power-pop heart. Formed in 1996, FDR Label is known for wildly popular tribute CDs based on The Replacements, The Who, and the ‘80s movie tribute, High School Reunion. Releases have featured the ever popular Guided by Voices, Frank Black, Mathew Sweet, Pat DiNizio, Bo Diddley, The Bigger Lovers, Bastards of Melody, The Successful Failures, The Dipsomaniacs, Taggart and many others. Mick Chorba, a name that has graced these pages several times in the past few years, runs the ship with help from an excellent staff and they have done an excellent job with label duties to date.

  You can preview the record over at blankpages.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-ether and find out more about Blank Pages over at facebook.com/BlankPagesPop.

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