Brakes

Brakes

Former British Sea Power extra, Hamilton, formed a band with some of Electric Soft Parade and The Tenderfoot and became an amazing force with their quickfire bursts of witty songs and observations. Brilliant stuff.

Date: April 29, 2009

Venue: Bodega Social

Good things come in small packages they say. While some may argue this, there can be no disagreement about the brilliance in brevity with Brakes songs.

If ever a band provides value for money it’s these guys. 20+ songs in just over an hour and 10 minutes authenticates the point. But these are no half-baked throwaway songs. No, these are astute, fully-formed alt.pop songs built from the finest eccentricity, the strangest fiction and some of the best riffs you’ll hear….ever!

Made up of members from three Brighton-based bands (British Sea Power, Electric Soft Parade and The Tenderfoot) their amalgam reads like a side project. But, now on their third album, Brakes are much more than that.

A firm fan base is growing, and the tight crowd are hungry for fan favourites like the bonkers Hi, How Are You?, the razor-sharp and equally illogical Porcupine or Pineapple, and the vivacious, deranged agit-pop of Spring Chicken. Not to mention the short, sharp blasts of lunacy like Comma, Comma, Comma Full Stop, which lasts a measly five seconds no less.

Add in some country-tinged numbers – a cover of Johnny Cash’s Jackson is the highlight – with plenty of banter and some party-starting effervescence on All Night Disco Party and the mixture is complete, although the latter almost never happens as guitar strings are snapped through excessive temerity, and only a last minute appearance from the most rock n roll of tools – the pliers – saves the day with its string-tightening ability.

There’s just time for eerie, slide guitar-based tear-jerker No Return too, which contains enough pain and heartache to make a statue weep.

They’re a curious, abstract bunch hell bent on preaching the gospel of the concise pop song. They succeed magnificently, and prove once and for all that size doesn’t matter.

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