Album review: Brakes
Eamon Hamilton reckons that if Brakes hadn’t written the 12-second track ‘Cheney’ (“Ch-Ch-Cheney/Stop being such a dick”), we’d be throwing our mouldering grandmothers out of improvised nuclear shelters following a Sarah Palin-induced nuclear apocalypse. But whereas in the past such wittily deranged micro-ditties often crept into lands on the music map annotated ‘Zany: here be monsters’, ‘Touchdown’ is a leap forward. These songs are still possessed by the same ADD fury of yore, but fleshed out into a full-on spasm: a hint of piano opens ‘Red Rag’ before an alt.rock bull stomps through the ring. Recent single ‘Hey Hey’ gets lost in a chaotically repeated refrain of “rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls” before it thunders to a stop. It’s this desire to put foot to pedal and make a gosh-darned racket that sets ‘Touchdown’ apart from its predecessors. For although they still look like four gents who’ve stumbled home covered in straw for a ploughman’s lunch, some of the country pastiche that’s held Brakes back in the past has been sent up town to market. ‘Oh! Forever’ is the song The Jesus And Mary Chain were too grumpily drunk to remember to write, while ‘Crush On You’ manages to mangle Nirvana, Pavement, and, gulp, Weezer together.
But on the sweet lament that is final track ‘Leaving England’, Eamon sings of abandoning these soggy shores
in search of love elsewhere. Here’s hoping he doesn’t stay away too long, for although we cannot know
what momentous geopolitical events might occur as a result of the release of this record, there’s no better soundtrack to getting by and falling in love as the world wobbles unsteadily about us.