Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Is It Time For New Brake Pads?*

Well, I finally made it over to Brakes' MySpace page to listen to some tracks off their forthcoming album, The Beatific Visions, and I was sadly underwhelmed.

Sure, their debut, Give Blood, was sort of silly and adolescent at points, but pretty much any song that clocked in at over 40 seconds was great pop/punk/garage rock. It opens with "Ring A Ding Ding," a song with lyrics that unabashedly make absolutely no sense whatsoever, but a tune that brings to mind visions of four teenagers banging on guitars, drums, and a bass, making up the music on the fly while Mom feverishly stamps her feet in the kitchen above them. "NY Pie" brings a pretty honky-tonk ditty to the streets of New York, while "The Most Fun" starts with a simple two-string guitar part and a dissonant harmony that, over a minute and a half, builds to one glorious climax incorporating the whole band (and all six guitar strings!). "Heard About Your Band" and "What's In It For Me" are the fast, fist-pumping bar-band songs that we all secretly yearn for. The band's take on "Jackson," the classic song by Jimmy Leiber and Billy Edd Wheeler, made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter, is recorded without any frills or "artistic interpretations," filled with tons of slide-guitar and plinking pianos - exactly how the song should always be played. And "All Night Disco Party" is just the type of song that was written to be remixed into a ten minute dance-party number.

But the three songs available on Brakes' MySpace page really don't live up to anything on Give Blood. "Porcupine or Pineapple" tries to replicate some of the brilliant stupidity of "Pick Up the Phone," but leans a little too far to the idiotic side of things. "Cease and Desist" sounds a little bit too much like a Foo Fighters or a Stone Temple Pilots song (I don't mean that in a good way). "Margarita," the third and last song available on the page most closely captures some of the fun of "What's In It For Me," but singer Eamon Hamilton's voice begins to grate on me as the chorus rolls around, which basically ruins whatever momentum the song had.

My only hope is that these three tunes are not representative of the rest of the album. Brakes is a genuinely fun and endearing band that deserves more than a mediocre sophmore album.

*We appologize in advance for the groan-inducing title.



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