Brakes - Touchdown

Neil Watts 18/02/2009

Rating: 2/5

Track by track guides to new albums are something of a pointless exercise. While it is always nice to get an insight into the inner workings of a band, in practise it more often than not falls flat. It's highly presumptuous to assume that the listener is unwilling, or incapable, of drawing their own conclusions and creating their own meanings for a particular song or lyric. This patronising, spoon fed approach does little more than turn off the potential audience. In this case the don't-think-for-yourself guide by Eamon Hamilton was shamelessly stolen from the band's cringe-worthy press release, and then dissected by God Is In The TV for your reading pleasure.

Two Shocks

Eamon: I took too many Sudafed, at the time they contained pseudo ephedrine, one night when I had a bad cold and went a bit loon-bar. I was in New York at the time, frothing at the mouth and wandering around Union Square. I babbled the words into my phone, and they seemed to make some sense at the time.

GIITTV: This definitely sounds like a collection of random, unrelated phrases and concepts crammed into four minutes worth of song. It has the typical Brakes sound that you would expect. Ultimately it adds nothing new to the mix, and ends up being nothing special.

Don't Take Me To Space (Man)

Eamon: We had been recording for 62 hours at Truck Studios, and were almost at breaking point, when Marc said “I've got a bassline,” and ripped this monster out. It all fell into place. We were in the middle of nowhere, with no light pollution, and it was about -7C, and I started thinking about being abducted. A friend who runs a club night in Brighton called Born Bad sent me a copy of 'Flying Saucer Rock n Roll' by Billy Lee Riley (“The little green men/ They were real hep cats”) which influenced me as well.”

GIITTV: Unfortunately this song is marred by the most irritating juxtaposition of 'space' and 'man' since Babylon Zoo's Spaceman hung around like a bad smell. Though as a whole the song sounds like See This Through And Leave-era The Cooper Temple Clause, which is deserving of a thumbs up. Plus the bassline that gets the song chugging into action is rather good, being reminiscent of the pulsating and addictive All Night Disco Party from their debut long player.

Red Rag

Eamon: Like a red rag to a bull, I suppose. It's a challenge song.

GIITTV: A much more energetic and aggressive number, driven by thudding drums, and then, disappointingly, it ends. It isn't altogether clear what it is challenging, perhaps the listener's patience.

Worry About It Later

Eamon: It's pretty self explanatory this one.

GIITTV: This plays to their jaunty strengths, with delicately jangling guitars luring you in to what is probably the most immediate and inoffensive song on the album.

Crush On You

Eamon: I was just playing around with chords and this popped out. I'd been reading a lot of conspiracy theories on the internet which shaped a few lyrics. K-town is Kemptown in Brighton. The Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgzstan have always held a fascination for me, I don't know why. Kyrgzstan has the best national flag in the world, I think.

GIITTV: Yet another example of the throw- it-at-a-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to songwriting that is prevalent throughout Touchdown. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time it doesn't. C'est la vie.

Eternal Return

Eamon: It's about being fed up with being reincarnated.

GIITTV: Worrying about being reincarnated probably doesn't rate highly in the day to day concerns of the average person, so it's a concept to take with a sizeable pinch of salt. Ignoring that, the song itself shows a nice line in whimsical country inspired rock that has served the band well in the past.

Do You Feel The Same?

Eamon: We were recording just as people were in a financial panic and saying things like “is this the end of capitalism”.

GIITTV: Oh, just what the doctor ordered, a reminder of the recession. Thanks for that. Whoever thought that music should be a form of escapism obviously didn't let Eamon & Co in on the idea. It is over in a minute and a half though, so it's not all bad news.

Ancient Mysteries

Eamon: Charles Douglas, who had recorded with Mo Tucker and Joey Santiago, sent us a bunch of his songs, and they are all brilliant. We chose to cover this one because it made us laugh - it's about foretelling the future. The Poconos are some mountains in Pennsylvania, where there are quite a few hippies and ashrams.

GIITTV: The Charles Douglas original is much, much better and sounds a lot like the college rock slacker tones of The Presidents of The United States of America. Listen to it at:

Oh! Forever

Eamon: This is a song about staying under the covers when it's cold.

GIITTV: It has the persistent drone of a Jesus And Mary Chain number -minus the ear drum threatening squall - that builds to a resonating crescendo.

Hey Hey

Eamon: It's about a man who survives a boat crash, swims to shore and tells his story in a bar.

GIITTV: It is more like dumb rawk 101 than a sea shanty. To be perfectly honest by this stage the album has become very annoying, indeed, and Eamon's distinctive nasal tones are at the forefront of the irritation.

Why Tell The Truth (When It's Easier To Lie)?

Eamon: I went 75p overdrawn on my account with Lloyds TSB, but was out of the country for a few days. By the time I realised I'd gone overdrawn, the bank had charged me 75. 75!!!!! Morally fucking WRONG. They were basically asking me to bail them out of their financial crisis.

GIITTV: Eamon decides to multitask, at once being the band's frontman, and a messed up version of Mary Poppins for the Naughties, proclaiming 'The beer helps the cigarettes go down'. What's more, countless people have, without a doubt, encountered the frustration that comes with useless banks, but thankfully not all of them have the platform of a mediocre band to air their grievances.

Leaving England

Eamon: This is about leaving England.

GIITTV: It drifts along pleasantly enough, but by now the previous thirty minutes have taken their toll. Eamon's largely tedious track descriptions and grating vocals have become too much for any form of meaningful evaluation, so leaving England might be an option.

Release date: 27/04/09