Brakes - Give Blood
Mike Mantin 24/06/2005
For anyone that knows their stuff about Brighton indie bands, Brakes are a bona fide supergroup, as members of much-lauded groups British Sea Power, the Electric Soft Parade and the Tenderfoot are all included under the Brakes banner. Thankfully, like Canada's supergroups The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene, the music created by throwing this talent together is rather good indeed. 'Give Blood' packs 16 tracks into 29 minutes and was recorded in a week, obviously meaning that Brakes' policy is keeping things short 'n' sweet.
Eamon Hamilton, the hat-wearing keyboardist from British Sea Power, has proven himself to be a rather fantastic lyricist. 'Give Blood''s finest tracks are deliciously spiteful mini-rants in which he gives himself about a minute to shout at whatever he's pissed off at. 'Heard About Your Band', for example, attacks a pretentious musician whose claims to fame are sharing a taxi with Karen O and meeting Electrelane, topped off by the best “whatever, dude!” you're ever likely to hear. 'Hi, How Are You' bluntly tells a talkative concert-goer, “won't you shut the fuck up, I'm trying to watch the band”. Elsewhere, 'Pick Up The Phone' and 'Cheney' are simply stabs of indie-punk noise, the latter lasting only 5 seconds.
It's not all shouty angriness, though. 'NY Pie' and 'Jackson' are jaunty alt.country with none of the aggressiveness that characterises most of the rest of the songs, and the closing 'Fell In Love With A Girl' (thankfully not a take on the White Stripes song of the same name) is a gentle, sweet, indie sway-along. The album's centrepiece, however, is the brilliant recent single 'All Night Disco Party', a simplistic but insanely catchy and infectious ditty that pretty much comes with a guarantee to make even the most shoe-gazingly, feet-shufflingly shy indie kid shake their skinny rump. It's the highlight of a thrilling and very impressive record that's perfect for soundtracking the Summer ahead.