Brandtson has been releasing amazing albums for years, the problem is not many people have been paying much attention. Their last album, Send Us a Signal, was the sleeper hit a few years ago. Building a wave of buzz from within the belly of our little community here. They’ve returned, they’ve evolved, but they’ve stayed within their formula for making some of the catchiest and enjoyable pop-rock you’ve ever heard.
With the song-writing storytelling skills of Limbeck and the catchy musical prowess of The Format, the sing-a-longs begin and don’t stop until the last note. As we’ve already mentioned this “electronica” trend has taken hold. Even Brandtson aren’t safe from this invasion! We get the beats, we get the dance songs (one song is even titled “No One Dances Anymore”) – but they do it in a way that comes across with the maturity only a band that’s been doing this whole shebang for years could have.
My only complaint is that Send Us a Signal was an emotional powerhouse for me. Each song hit hard and tugged on the heartstrings. There are still quite a few of those on this album; however, while “dance” songs are catchy as hell the presentation removes a bit of the emotional impact of the songs. Fortunately what makes this album better (and have a much higher staying power) then their peers is that the emotional impact is still there. Even the songs that demand kick-spins and other embarrassing dance moves in your socks – still have that intangible within that make them great songs.
The dual vocals are used perfectly throughout the album to give the songs a fuller sound and draw attention to the tantalizing harmonies.
Stand out tracks include the slow opener, “A Thousand Years,” it’s follower “Earthquakes and Sharks,” the incredibly addicting “Goodnight Sweet Prince” and sure to be fan-favorite, “Lie to Me.” My least favorites are “Tapping the Vain” and “Stop Machine” – the only two songs I feel get a little too far from the band’s natural sound.
While not as emotionally captivating as Send Us a Signal – Hello, Control still holds that feeling over me that I’ll be listening to this band and this kind of music when I’m old and gray.
If you had to pick a musical genre that best describes my taste – this is most certainly it. Pop-Punk may have been what got me into music, but whatever you call this sound is where my tastes have evolved to. Brandtson, Morrissey, Liam and Me, Brand New, Rock Kills Kid, Minus the Bear – these are the bands that I’m most drawn to these days. You know what you like and you know your style – if you’re close to mine, Brandtson is a most certain buy.
In conclusion, while not living quite up to their previous album (hey, the bar was set pretty damn high), Brandtson make a sure fire step toward finally being recognized and admired for what they do best: writing damn good songs.