The Blakes' self-titled debut album opens along a familiar track: two relatively clean guitar strums, followed by a third filled with feedback. It's the kind of thing heard when a band strums its warmups at the start of a show the unaffected, nonchalant calm before the storm.
Make no mistake, in the 34 minutes and 40 seconds that follow on this Brit-like dance-rock disc, calm is clearly an afterthought. It's an album filled with pacing and influences so varied that you'd have a hard time believing the band performing one song is indeed the same one that performs another. But each track is certainly by The Blakes, and each is as enjoyable as the last.
This stage is set with the song that follows those opening strums: the opening track, "Two Times," which The Blakes Garnet Keim (guitar, vocals), his brother Snow (bass, vocals) and bandmate Bob Husak (drums) claim they wrote in just seven minutes.
That's not altogether unbelievable; the song isn't complicated. But seven minutes? C'mon. It's still ridiculously impressive. Especially considering it took the Seattle-based act eight years and a handful of failed drummers to reach this point.
Named after English poet and artist William Blake, The Blakes formed in Seattle in 1999 when the Keims walked into the coffee shop where Husak worked.
"We just started talking about the scene and music in general," Husak says over his cell phone while riding in the band's van between tour stops in Georgia. "And we just kind of started playing music together."
After toiling away in the Seattle scene for a few years, the band tried its hand at Los Angeles. The plan: Find a fourth member, get signed, become rock stars. Problem was, no drummer Husak played second guitar at that point seemed to fit in with The Blakes' varied tastes and rigorous three-hour-a-day practice schedule.
"We weren't making any money or getting anywhere at the time," Husak says. "It took a lot of commitment and not much back from somebody, and I think it was tough for a lot of those drummers to make that commitment to a band that was basically just starting out and was working so hard."
That disappointment soon dissolved. With no prior experience, Husak switched to drums and picked them up relatively easily, thanks to the band's constant rehearsing, practicing and writing.
"When we switched to just the three of us, it just kind of worked because we all set aside everything else to do the band," Husak says.
After returning to Seattle, they found out how right they were. Their self-released album (an earlier version of the one released last month) earned airplay on local stations because of its dance-y, energetic sound. Now, after being signed to Light in the Attic Records, the band's starting to see some payoff in the form of bigger crowds and buzz.
Well, some of the time, at least. And more so recently.
"It's building," Husak says. "It's kind of a groundswell."
Or the calm before the storm.
The Blakes with The Nicotine Fits, Mike Villalva and The Jack Trades
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $8, all ages; visit ticketweb.com or call 866/468-7621.