Review Summary: Bringing more to the fight than their punk roots, Bracket attempts something new with "Requiem." A venture into indie rock and the world of pop may have been the right move for Bracket, but they are only showcasing potential rather than talent.
Who is Warren anyway? Bracket has sprinkled their albums here and there with seemingly ambiguous tracks entitled Warren’s Song Pt. (1-26) for quite a while. The Warren’s Songs are always special odes, in some way capturing the depressing theme that has been an example of nerdy childhood classmate Warren Rake. After an unexpected departure from Fat Wreck Chords to join Takeover records, Bracket’s 2006 release “Requiem” is completely full of Warren’s Songs. I’m not overstating; each song on “Requiem” is entitled Warren’s Song, from parts 10 to 26. The songs are also scrambled because they are in chronological order rather than a more reasonable arrangement. This may seem absurd at first, but this is a concept album that has been in the works for five years. Albeit still seems absurd, through this madness Bracket manages to slowly justify a tiny bit of musical brilliance.
ANNOYING! I have yet to receive a response from an individual who did not mention that Bracket lead singer Marty Gregori’s voice is immensely annoying. His voice does not strain much, nor does he wail, but he sounds so nasal that it becomes difficult to listen to Bracket for more than one song. This is a serious setback for a band attempting to increase their fan base. To correct this, Bracket has done nothing. Marty still sings with the same voice, but he’s got the assistance of fine gentlemen in Angelo Celli and Zack Charlos, who bring along some harmonies for the road. This is where Bracket has had its most significant musical progression. Angelo and Zack are great supporters for Marty because they reduce the severity of the dose that Marty provides, and Marty isn’t so bad in small doses.
If it’s love songs you want, it’s love songs you got on “Requiem,” and they come around very often. The list includes lost love, love in waiting, love to come, loving love, etc. The tunes also have the merry theme of depression. The lyrics are actually very moving in some situations, and thanks to Bracket’s experience, they succeeded in conveying genuine emotion. From lyrics like “She hears my broken words / Confess my phobias to her / And her love is unwavering / Now unhappiness will have to wait” on Part 11, to “My yesterday was another lifeless day / And I write the saddest poetry when you're far away from me” on Part 12, Bracket can sweetly rhyme with reason on top of their rapid guitar hooks and drum beats.
The album is not the punk rock that music listeners would expect from Bracket, which is absolutely fine. Bracket has been experimenting and has transitioned into a comfort zone where they shed a recognizable punk skin and illustrate shades of pop while using independent rock weapons, like those damn synthesizers. It is the only sensible progression for the band because they were becoming very repetitive while dwelling in the punk scene. The pop shines through with the “doo-doo-doo’s” and the “ooh-ooh-ooh’s” that appear very often throughout the album, with Bracket apparently attempting to channel the Beach Boys. Lots of vocal harmonies also make for a pop impression of this once purely punk band. This initially comes across as off-putting, but when a song becomes too poppy, Bracket immediately swings into riffs and picks up the pace into a familiar sound of punk rock. The result is fascinating but can only do so much for a band that has yet to find their identity. This album is definitely a stepping stone but it seems that if it took five years to make a stepping stone for these veterans, it may be too late for a solid foundation.