The Brackish: Big Guys (Lava Thief)
CD / DL
Due Out 22nd Sept 2014
The Brackish release an album that managed to sound like all your favourite bands have formed one big supergroup, but is it as good as it sounds? Louder Than War’s Simon Tucker reviews.
The Brackish’s Big Guys album is tour de force in genre-hopping musicianship , laden with infectious hooks, melodies, and riffs. It’s an album that manages to sound like all your favourite bands have formed one big supergroup, dropped some strong lysergic, created a festival and have invited you to be its only guest and whilst many may think this sounds awful (it does when written down) The Brackish manage to not only pull it off but also make the whole thing very concise and cohesive. It’s an album that is at once joyous and free yet, with a slight time signature change or introduction of a certain guitar affect, can make you feel queasy and uncomfortable. You can never second guess it or assume you know where the songs are heading as its relentless riffing can suddenly morph from Sabbath sludge to Television crispness.
Take the album’s centrepiece Lightwood Reservoir, which introduces itself with a relaxed lounge-funk feel before it grows and evolves to a searing climax which screams to the skies whilst looking into the depths. Sometimes feeling like Tweez-era Slint, Lightwood Reservoir is an incredibly emotive song which creates a world for the listener in which they can get truly lost in. A highlight on an album that is full of highlights.
Big Guys is chock full of magical moments and surprise left turns which will excite many a listener whether it be the rolling surf Cramps like Surf’s Down or the funk/prog Beefheart meets Parliament Plane and Seal. In fact, the album is a difficult one to review in many ways as, after numerous listens, I feel I still have only just started to scratch the surface of it.
The Brackish have managed to make a record that touches on seventy decades of popular music including blues, jazz, prog, punk, surf, post-rock, and electronica. The fact that they have managed to do this whilst still retaining a singular identity and to still sound fresh and current is remarkable.
A must listen.
All words by Simon Tucker. More words from Si can be found at his Louder Than War Author Archive.