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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brain F≠- Sleep Rough LP review

Brain F≠- Sleep Rough LP review
Reviewing this album is a huge task- in short, this is the most unique sounding band I have heard in a long time, and this record is the most intoxicating, catchy, flexible set of songs I’ve heard yet from a punk group.  It’s hard to say anything bad about this LP- it’s just about perfect, front to back.  The only complaint I can register is the inability to read/decipher the lyrics to the songs in the insert printed on the record sleeve.  Everything else is… utterly superb- the sound is unique, as in a type of sound not previously used by a preceding band.  Vague influences do resonate, but this is so loosely intertwined that it’s impossible to compare to any established sound.  In fact, I doubt this is a sound able to be successfully replicated.  Regardless, what is this breakthrough sound composed of?  Without a doubt, it is an energetic punk sound, but it falls short of being hardcore, hitting a X-Ray Spex, Buzzcocks, or Ramones-like tempo and fluctuating therein.  The overall sound of the band is a fast-paced garage-influenced punk rock, but not nearly as simple as that.  The songs are filled with multiple parts with different riffs, and still have the essence of a traditional song; it’s weird without being incomprehensibly bizarre.
The vocals… they used dual vocals, though Elise is the main singer and Nick (the guitarist) swishes in as a compliment to her, the low pitch to her rich, higher range singing voice.  The two voices are traditional highs and lows, but it feels like something more- yin and yang.  Nick is the chiming voice of logic, the one telling you to slow down, to stop and think; it’s the gruff sound of unwanted truths, while Elise’s voice is one of intoxication, freedom, elation, the endless curiosity pushing to expand the horizons of the mind.  Her voice is almost angelic, one likely heard upon overdosing on drugs and dying slowly but painlessly- it’s soothing and relaxing, though subconsciously so.  “Sleep Rough” and “Hand’s in the Jar” are the strongest examples of her voice’s features, and “V-2” incorporates dual vocals in the most successful manner.
The guitar is a humming buzz of waves and troughs of distinct clarity and distant cacophony, so to speak.  Sometimes, it is the driving force behind the songs- other times, that force is the drums, which are always in the background, despite being a strong force of the band- not a lacking influence, just not a primary, direct one.  “No More/More” is the song most indicative of a smooth, driving, energetic, minimalistic guitar sound, though the title track is another good candidate for this as well. 
The bass is not quite as moving of an instrument, but it serves as a compliment to the other two.  The catchiness of traditional garage bands is well-noted in “Marathon Tops” and “Connerie”, being hookier and more repetitious in rhythm.  The lyrics written are easily memorable and not far removed from pop music in their generalization of being relatable and their double-layered mix of simplicity and complexity- not ones spent hours dwelling on, but rather singing.
I still feel that not all has been said- I don’t think there’s a way to say everything there is to say about this record; one of the most enjoyable, unique, and fascinating records I have heard to date.
-Aunty Social

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