Just give me some of that rock n roll music…
Touchdown starts off with Two Shocks, which includes some of the best lyrics since Thomas White’s Devil In A Trojan Horse…
All I grew was disillusioned and a little bit older
I soon discovered it was impossible to stand up without being attacked
So I covered my body in vaseline and learned how to slip through the gaps
I soon discovered it was impossible to stand up without being shot
So I covered my body in bacofoil and waited for the sun to come out
They said this is the first proper Brakes album and that it’s their most cohesive. On first hearing it, you know exactly what they mean. On adding the final touches, “putting the ‘fucking fairy dust’ over the new Brakes record” was mentioned. That’s one way of describing what’s special about this album.
I think it’s their best yet and already favourite tracks stand out to me especially Crystal Tunings, the song given away as a free download and titled Oh! Forever on the album. One of the catchiest songs on here – timeless musical beauty – it emits the feeling of pure joy; Brakes starting afresh with renewed energy. A song to instantly lift your spirits, sounding like it was created in a more carefree, happy time, when all you needed was a record player and a stack of vinyl; just you and the songs, in a world of your own, before you discovered harsh reality.
This upbeat mood shines elsewhere on the album, especially Crush On You; the abstract lyrics intrigue. Listening intently, you’re transfixed by the musical hypnotism.
Worry About It Later is the prettiest country folk with lyrics to captivate…
It’s easy to blame chaos on the ones with cloaks and daggers
Who push the hidden hands that hold the strings of ultimate control
When you ain’t got none
Red Rag is backed with a frantic drumbeat which punctuates the song, the guitar and vocals follow with a sense of urgency, shattering the beauty elsewhere. This track is a pure release of pent up energy, the lyrics unintelligable but at the same time just as vital as the noise they’re creating. Their Porcupine Or Pineapple moment and just what their fans love about them. The only thing I can liken the vocals to is Kurt Cobain at his most ferocious. Musically, there’s rather a touch of Thomas and Matt’s new band Clowns (myspace) A whole album of this stuff would be quite cathartic especially with drums like that!!
Eternal Return has a swinging backbeat, pure hillbilly, conjuring up images of Brakes sitting on hay bales, strumming guitars with a foot tappin tale of woe.
Every life that I’ve been through has been no good
Every breath I’ve ever breathed has been misunderstood
Do You Feel The Same? The icing on the cake is the guitar line, instantly recognisable from the Brothers White other major concern and puts a knowing sparkle in your eye. If Alex’s beats made the last 2 songs reviewed, Thomas adds a touch of magic here.
Ancient Mysteries is a story about the kind of people featured on certain daytime TV Shows, detailing the lives of various trailer trash (without typing out the lyrics is the easiest way to describe it) You somehow feel you’ve heard it all before (that’s because you have) and then the chorus comes in and brings beauty to the tale; a musical backdrop to their lives – you imagine this song playing on the radio as the story unfolds.
Why Tell The Truth (When It’s Easier To Lie) The chorus cuts in with a faster tempo, with a chord change stolen right out of The Beatles in Hamburg (is the only way I can describe it) And that’s a very good thing… Here’s the session version from BBC 6 Music (listen here)
Leaving England is another song with a country twinge and the sweetest chorus, with what sounds like Thomas on backing (he contributed to Oh! Forever on 6 Music – listen here) Probably because 2 vocals work so well together, I’d like to hear more vocal contributions on Brakes recordings (also at the end of this song is a hidden track)
Don’t Take Me To Space (Man) The lyrics are a heartfelt plea to another lifeforce; “I don’t care that this world’s corrupted, I don’t want to be abducted”. Though he’s already got the spacesuit just incase; here’s the evidence
Hey Hey is fast and furious; “the ship was sinking but it wasn’t yet sunk” (which is a good job because there are moments not to be missed on this album) Here’s the session version from BBC 6 Music (listen here)
Touchdown is more than enough until ESP’s return. You may miss those Brothers White vocals but the intensity is sure as hell still there. The most important thing is they’re enjoying themselves again. They know how lucky they are to be able to get their music out there; they’re not taking this for granted, they’re savouring every second. Brakes ceased to be an ESP side-project a long time ago, to me their music was always equally important.
ESP have hinted they may work with Paul Savage at Chem 19 studios in Glasgow for their next album; if this is the result he’s had with Brakes, you can imagine how they’ll benefit from his input. That’s an exciting thought to end on. When you listen to this album, you can only dream of the wonders they’re going to create… because this IS the best album Brakes ever did.