Only in the days of pictures and realistic tones, Blank Generation is a proto-punk display that ties into the 1977’s range of sound. Where other New Yorkers like The Velvet Underground were busy rummaging the cityscape with a tinted aviator, Richard Hell was among the grime but In a different way.
Blank Generation was released in the same year as Never Mind The Bullocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols but never stamped itself into personal collection until this past year. It was the way that Hell could debut with vigor and spark some weird sin to the ears.
The band that dances along with Hell consists of Robert Quine and Ivan Julian on guitar and backing vocals. Formatting around Marc Bell on the percussion leaves Hell himself as the primary vocalist and bass guitarist.
Blank Generation begins as a spunky and rapid burst on “Love Comes In Spurts” where the chorus and instrumentation are nearly overpowering against Hell. The chorus that describes “Love comes in spurts” Hell illustrates, “Oh no it hurts,” or “oh no, cause it always hurts” becomes built as a classic rock feel to dad’s record bin. One of the covers that are easy to pass over, Hell’s body which describes, “You Make Me ____” on his pale, nearly emaciated torso shouldn’t be memorable but it strikes the brain instantly.
Almost like his vocals, especially illustrative on the piece “Betrayal Takes Two” where the slowed instrumentation forces the audience to focus directly onto Hell. Almost as if it was a twisted love ballad, “Betrayal Takes Two” is a beautiful display of prowess towards instrumentation from both Julian and Quine on the guitars especially. Their strum techniques and power chords form around the listener as this shield of sound.
Once the range begins to dial down and overpower the audience, Blank Generation keeps the audience in this guessing game with the title track “Blank Generation.” Elements of rambunctious punk like based in Hell’s band Television bleed to be entirely sequenced through Blank Generation. The title cut is not so much fast but just filled with passion and a scorching wall of noise.
The solo is covered to be these harsh strums and contorted sense of wailing. Not hard to dance to, the method of hustle and flow to the track makes Richard Hell & The Voidoids seem formidable as a progressive piece. The four-man band gives less than subtle nods to performances from a gritty underground and makes the belly appear as the sky.
Blank Generation is a record that could have been passed over by dusty fingertips in the overwhelming tsunamis of published wax. When that one hand comes to Richard Hell & The Voidoids though, the memory sticks as a precursor to what shaped a generation to follow.