Friday, May 11, 2012

Brasstronaut: "Mean Sun" (album review)

Out of the beautiful west coast of Canada comes Brasstronaut, a band bent on making music as gorgeous as their surroundings.  The band are on the brink of releasing their second LP, Mean Sun, on May 15th.

The intricate songs sprawl out in front of you as you listen.  In some cases they seem to float in the zero-gravity of space ("Francisco"), others glisten and sparkle ("Bounce").   The band venture into Red House Painters haunting mope rock territory at times as well ("Moonwalker").

Brasstronaut are at their best when they tease tension in their songs.  "The Grove" for example, has an intensity that's not immediately obvious, before the arrangement finally breaks free from it's restraints and morphs into a scale-runner.  The record's passionate penultimate track, "Falklands", shows off the brass in the band name is not just a clever wordplay.

The album standout is "Revelstoke Dam".  A meandering horn line lightens the album's mood by injecting some much-needed whimsy.

The pace can grow to be a little frustrating.  With the slow, drifting title track or the glacial atmospheric "Fossil", you may find yourself yelling at your speaker for the band to 'get on with it already'.

It's hard to deny that Mean Sun is a beautiful record.  It could be so much more impressive though, if Brasstronaut could find a way to make it grab and hold your attention for the entire 50:00.

Brasstronaut play NXNE in Toronto on June 15th.

Best tracks: "Revelstoke Dam", "The Grove"

Track listing for Mean Sun:
  • Bounce
  • Francisco
  • Mean Sun
  • Fossil
  • The Grove
  • Moonwalker
  • Revelstoke Dam
  • Hymn for Huxley
  • Falklands
  • Mixtape

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