Its fascinating to watch how an initially obvious influence on a band can slowly morph into something entirely their own. Case in point: the local boys that make up garage pop outfit the Blakes and their clear affection for the Kinks. Much like Ray and Dave Davies, brothers Snow and Garnet Keim are gifted, volatile collaborators who possess both natural musical harmony and the requisite degree of ambitious self-confidence that it takes to excel at classic pop construction. While their earlier recordings were undeniably strong outings, the 13 songs on their forthcoming sophomore full-length, Souvenir, are dramatically more original and timeless in nature, evoking that old-school Kinks sound, but with a dark streak that feels both gothic and periodically operatic. They may still be dedicated followers of fashion, but the Blakes have finally found a style all their own. With U.S.E., Battle Hymns. Photo courtesy David Belisle.