Brakes - Touchdown
Men, we are told, cannot multi-task: they find it impossible to do more than one thing at a time. Whether or not this is scientifically true, I do not know, but, even if we can multi-task and the myth is un-founded, should we? Isn’t doing one thing properly better than doing two or three adequately? That is my argument, and my defence? Allow me to introduce you to Brakes, a band that do indeed multi-task, or at least try to.
Encompassing different styles and sounds, all within one sphere, is a notoriously tricky feat to accomplish. Many have tried, only the truly supreme survive. Succeeding can create true greatness; failing generates a somewhat soured experience. In Touchdown, Brakes have delivered what is essentially, a collection of sturdy and well recorded songs. Production is not the problem here - everything sounds shiny and full of life. The drawback is that Brakes appear to verge on being three different bands.
One of them is genuinely fantastic, making indie-guitar infused treasures that’ll have you misty eyed and pining for the 90’s. The second are a quasi-hardcore act, defiantly belting out short and sharp beams of aggression. Lastly, an incarnation who are deft at creating the kind of punky-pop moments that Ash championed.
This, tends to render the listening experience confusing and somewhat frustrating. The catchy pop of ‘Don’t Take Me To Space (Man)’ slides into the full-steam-ahead aggression of ‘Red Rag’, which in turn, passes the baton to the jangly indie guitars of ‘Worry About It Later’ – it’s the sonic equivalent of a pinball machine. A little more cohesion and it’s possible that Touchdown would have found itself being championed left, right and centre.
That said, there are moments on Touchdown that are quite simply brilliant, real clutches of well crafted quality - the mesmerising ‘Two Shocks’ is one of them. Built on a solid groove of guitars and a driving rhythm section, it builds relentlessly to a wonderfully climatic chorus that’s pleasantly reminiscent of many indie-guitar bands of the shoegazing tradition. ‘Crush On You’ feeds on a diet of The Pixies, but manages to translate the influence in a positive way, rather than produce a carbon copy of Frank Black and Co’s revered sound.
‘Worry About It Later’ is classic single material, simple indie class that delivers an irresistible hook directly into your cranium. Maximum points are awarded to ‘Oh! Forever’ and its particles of Jesus & Mary Chain inspired dream-fuzz that coats you in sheer happiness.
Touchdown deserves to be owned for ‘Oh! Forever’ and ‘Two Shocks’ alone, they’re two tracks that have flooded into my year and show all the rights signs of staying put. Next time, however, they can leave some of their friends at home, they aren’t welcome at mine.