For who? Fans of Punk, Emo, Progressive stylings of Rock would like Brazil. Specifically, if you dig At The Drive In, The Mars Volta, or even Coheed & Cambria...I assure you that you will like Brazil.
"This six-piece from Indiana had a rather tumultuous beginning. After brothers Jon and Nick found members Eric, James, Benjamin, and Aaron to complete the band, they funded their first tour with capital out of their own pockets, drained their bank accounts and nearly starved, talk about starving artists. The guys were eventually discovered by Fearless Records and were signed, showing that hard work rightly pays off. Now, they are playing the Vans Warped Tour, gaining greater recognition, more deference, and doting fans" From silent uproar.com
Brazil can best be described as a progressive emo group with a sound that mixes The Mars Volta, At The Drive In, and Coheed & Cambria.This is Brazil's first official album under Flawless Records (At The Drive In anyone?) and another is expected for release in early 2006. Thank god for Amazon’s listmanias or I wouldn't have ever found this amazing band. Anyways, on with a track by track take on the album...
1.) A Hostage ****/****
The album kicks off with the fast paced A Hostage. A very melodic and short song (running a scant 2:57), Brazil succeeds in getting the listener into the album. Brazil's uniqueness from its peers can be seen with Jonathan Newby's falsetto vocals and unique instrumentation (in this song an assortment of bells). In addition, the guitarwork is very well done. During the bridge that occurs in the middle, Brazil's progressive leanings can be seen with some cool effects, and disorted guitar and vocalwork akin to what you may find in a typical Mars Volta song. The overall Sound is like a more progressive At The Drive In. The song is very catchy punkish progressive song and a positive sign for further things to come from the album.
"Your lips are dripped with poison, the feeling will last forever"
2.) The Novemberist ****/**** *HIGHLIGHT
The song kicks off slowly with some eerie guitar chords, bells, and beautiful piano accompanies. Another catchy song, that is again very reminiscent of ATDI. The song picks up towards the end with an wonderful climax of the piano/guitar dueling it out. This is the second best ballad type song you will find on the album.
"Save a match for me, burn with me into the flame. Save a match for me, play your game with me tonight"
3.) Io ****/****
The song opens up with a catchy piano and synth section before the guitars take over and Newby's vocals. This song is another fast paced one with the piano repeating the catchy opening portion through out the song. Newby's lyrics are strange in this one and as one will come to see as the album unfolds...Brazil is a very complex band both lyrically and musically. Newby switches from falsetto to speaking to screaming vocals throughout the song. As with most Brazil songs, the lyrics are quite ambiguous in nature. The song is another build-up with a fantastic end.
“One wore white, the other dressed in red. One invincible and the other fell down and bled. One to touch your face and the other to wipe the sweat. One to know your name and the other not just yet”
4.) Escape ****/**** *HIGHLIGHT
This is the first single from the album and one of my favorites. The song kicks off with a Coldplay Clocks like piano opening and goes from there. The lyrics are very interesting in the song. The chorus is very catchy. The guitarwork is once again very well done with the piano accompaniment providing added rhythm and melody. This is the catchiest song on the album.
“The right to make a world of your own…escape overrides it all”
5.) We ***/****
This is more of a straight punk/emo type song. The lyrics are once again, quite good. The guitarwork is well done with added use of pedal effects and a driving piano. This song is good...but does not compare to the monster coming next!
“We have all the strengths of genius…and all the signs of weakness
You'd better go on believing…interface cannot come between”
6.) The Iconclast ****/**** *HIGHLIGHT
This is the last song on the first half and is a ballad of sorts. The song opens up with a beautiful piano piece before Newby provides some wonderful vocals for the song. The song contains the best lyrics on the album. Again, they are very hard to decipher but the beauty is there. The song also contains some great driving drums, soaring piano pieces, distorted and soaring guitars, and even strings add depth. This is a wonderful ballad and is my favorite track on the album.
“Your sky falls forever…a black heart endeavor
The game of laissez-faire…aces in the air
Your eyes stare forever…in the cold dry hereafter
Hiding an affair…I swore was never there
It's over and under and over and under. In the city that never sleeps…you're the creature that never wakes…I thought you were someone else”
7.) Zentropa ***/****
The second half opens up with the fast paced Zentropa. Starting with a unique bass and guitar line...the song gets up to pace with Newby's normal vocals that are distorted during the passages and falsetto vocals during the chorus. The song is another catchy one. Surprising, since the lyrics are so morbid (as are most of Brazil's songs). Also surprisingly, there is no piano to be found in this song. The unique bass and guitar line found at the beginnng of the track is the songs added melody in the song. A good catchy song after The Iconclast.
“If I should die before I wake…never see the shores
With foreign waves…memory fades to black
Under crushing marble slab cool me off…rinse me clean
Let me please come with you…porcelain ivory…look at you now look at me
Run away, run so far away…the monolith is beckoning every day…close my eyes and set me free”
8.) Fall Into ****/****
Things slow down with Fall Into. The song opens with a cool bass intro and a piano backing. This is one of the slowest songs on the album though it picks up with the chours and midway through the song. The chorus that repeats after the bridge into the second half is my favorite of the disc. If your not singing along to “Are your real or are you a vain imagination?” You must be dead. A very good song with an outstanding second half and some great hard guitars and driving piano.
“One time for me…is too late for you
Their plastic gaze…would melt for you
My passive face…keeps me away
Cold, stark, and pale…our sobriquet
Are you real or are you a vain imagination?”
9.) Metropol ****/**** *HIGHLIGHT
Ahh Metropol. This is the 'epic' of the album...clocking in at 6:43. It isn’t a Cassandra Gemini but it sounds just as damn good. This is the fastest song on the album which contains a plethora of instruments and a nice range of vocals from Newby. The piano and guitar serve the song well for a good portion of the song. Around the 2:30 mark the song enters its progressive mode with saxophones, soaring pianos and guitars, and some crushing drums. This instrumentation continues to 5:12 with some cool piano, sax and guitar solos. The song continues to the end with the chorus repeated and an echoing sax. This is truly the best song on the album and can be said to be a mini Cassandra Gemini in its own right.
“Black and silver…soot stained eyes see fire and steel. How can I tell if it's for real?”
10.) Aventine ****/****
Slowing things down to a moderate pace...Aventine is another piano driven song with a nearly pure ATDI feel not heard on other tracks. The guitarwork and lyrics are very good. The real highlight of the song is Newby's vocals. This is easily his best vocal performance on the album.
“Deep inside me…deep inside my fortress. To live with myself…to ease the strain…release the brain. It's all I want…bleeding the vein”
11.) Form and Function **/****
This is an instrumental track that leads into the final song of the album. It is very spacey but an interesting listen. But it is an unnecessary track. The only song that can be said to 'filler'
12.) Fatale and Futique ****/**** *HIGHLIGHT
The other 'epic' of the album running at 5:12. For the first half this is a very slow track, with Newby's vocals allowed to shine amongst sparse instrumentation. The song kicks into full gear around the 3:00 mark with a catchy chorus that goes on til the end of the song. The song comes to a long close at the 4:21 mark amongst a small orchestra section. A great end to a wonderful debut album.
“Send the match and send the flame…and send the heat…so I can burn down the walls that keep you in”
Overall, this is a brilliant debut album that falls between At The Drive In and The Mars Volta in terms of prog leanings and intensity. Though they may be similar to those bands, they do carve out their own nich with their excellent piano meoldies, strong vocals, and unique lyrics. Overall, Brazil is a band worth checking out. You wont be dissapointed.
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