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Brakesbrakesbrakes: Touchdown

 

B-

BrakesBrakesBrakes

Album: Touchdown
Label: Fat Cat

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Brakesbrakesbrakes began as a side project for members of Electric Soft Parade and British Sea Power looking to blow off steam: 2005’s Give Blood alternated jokey music-scene piss-takes (like the self-explanatory “Heard About Your Band”) with textbook indie rock. The band took off and became its members’ main gig, but the uneven follow-up The Beatific Visions showed the strain of committing seriously to something that wasn’t serious to begin with: It lumbered through more fully developed (yet less exciting) tunes. For round three, the band enlisted Paul Savage (drummer for the late Delgados) to produce; he thickens the guitars and beefs up the drum kit, providing muscle where little existed before. But Brakesbrakesbrakes still don’t have the songs to go with that muscle. The words are frequently sharp, though bummers: “All I grew was disillusioned and a little bit older,” sighs the opener, “Two Shocks,” before it builds up some steam. But most of the other rockers aren’t focused enough, and they run into unmemorable connecting tissue. Oddly, the once-acerbic group is now best at being sweetly lovestruck. Now they need another facet that works as well.