Brakesbrakesbrakes “The Beatific Visions”

Album Reviews | Jun 2nd, 2007

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Record Label: Rough Trade
Genre: Country Punk
Band Link: link
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Oooo, something that’s both good and hard to describe! A challenge!

All right, there’s no easy way to describe them, but alt-country rockabilly soul punk heartland indie rock might come close. It’s a mouthful, but they sound simpler and cleaner than my description. First off, they rock. They may be twangy, they may be poppy, they may even be John Mellencampish sometimes, but they write and play great music.

Their more rockin’ songs range from ass-shaking soul-rock (“Spring Chicken”) to an alternarock country-pop-punk sound that is actually similar to Irish punk in its structure and feel (“Hold Me In The River”, “Margarita”, “On Your Side”). When they rock, I get the image of a drunken party on a riverboat.

They also do twangier songs, like the country shuffle “If I Should Die Tonight” and the tender ballad “Mobile Communication.”

They’re eclectic but cohesive for the most part. Their only miss is when they let indie pretentiousness take over the rock. Such is the case on “Isabel” – a faint, listless lo-fi indie tune halfway through the album that destroys the pacing. The Shins-like title track also doesn’t fit well on the album, though it’s a good song by any other standard. Thankfully, the drunken riverboat party sound kicks back in with the silly tongue-twister “Porcupine or Pineapple.”

The album ends on another lame indie note – an atmospheric lo-fi 5-minute small eternity with (ugh) sleigh bells. So these guys aren’t perfect, but if they focused on their country-punk, they stand to be one of the best in its genre.

Bottom Line: A little bit country, a whole lotta rock.
Notable Tracks: Margarita, Hold Me In The River, Spring Chicken
Overall Rating: