The Brains – [Album]

The Brains – [Album]

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Monday, 26 October 2015
REVIEWS
ARTIST: The Brains – [Album]
DATE: 10-21-15
REVIEW BY: Bill Adams
ALBUM: Out In The Dark
LABEL: Stomp/Warner Music

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Since they first stumbled out of a Quebecois crypt ten years ago, The Brains have always attempted to reach as many ears as possible. Of course, their first introduction was made as a psychobilly band – but it didn’t take long for the group to begin reaching for more inspiration from beyond the constraints of rockabilly. With each successive album, elements of punk rock, metal and even folk have been mixed in and/or focused upon in order to titillate an ever-larger fan base with results ranging from fantastic to contentious but, at their heart (and always lurking somewhere on each album), it has always been a mix of psychobilly and horror movie imagery which has inspired The Brains and that they have returned to that heart on Out In The Dark is instantly engaging and exciting.

The moment that Out In The Dark‘s title track springs out furiously to open the record, long-time fans will find themselves exhaling a satisfied sigh. The song is high-strung, tightly wound and runs out with something to prove; no matter how far The Brains may have ventured from where they started, “Out In The Dark” proves that the band knew its way back. There, bassist Colin Irvine batters and chokes his instrument gleefully while Phil Pinard swirls up a strikingly lighthanded assault on his drum kit, and the results illustrate definitively that the band is perfectly capable of coming back to center – but the real thrills get generated by singer/guitarist Rene De La Muerte. On “Out In The Dark,” De La Muerte really proves how much he’s grown over the last ten years through his vocal performance; he lilts and swaggers through lines like “It’s never what you see/ That grips and terrifies me/ What lies in wait/ The horror yet to come” like a lounge singer banished to the fourth ring of Hell but still larger than life and owning the song overall. The overall result is a perfect return, and any fan who hears it will know it immediately.

The start presented by “Out In The Dark” is strong, but the record gets even more rewarding as it continues because the energy level does not dip. In fact, songs like “The Witch,” “Need You Now,” “Wolfman” and “Lifetime” actually push harder, hotter and faster to become a set of the best songs The Brains have ever released. In each of those aforementioned songs, The Brains set all-new levels of power and ferocity as the rip through and leave nothing be singed synapses in their wake – it’s absolutely breathtaking and, when “Killer” finally blows the doors off the album to close it, listeners won’t be able to find any reason to feel shorted. Out In The Dark is a hard ride, and far and away The Brains’ best to date.

Artist:

www.thebrains.bandpage.com/
www.facebook.com/TheBrainsMTL
www.twitter.com/thebrainsmtl

Album:

Out In The Dark
will be released on November 6, 2015 via Stomp Records/Warner. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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The Brains – [Album]

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

It may have taken almost ten years of hard work, trading record labels, touring constantly and building a devoted fan-base out of almost nothing, but on The Brains' newest album lies the proof that this band has finally hit its stride. This time out, the Quebec-based rockabilly trio has dodged all of the pitfalls that hobbled its previous albums (poor, grainy production and weak, paint-by-numbers songwriting) and produced a record which represents a true high-water mark; the sound is perfectly clean, the songs as well as the band's performances of them are solid and at no point does the band take a minute to not rock like beasts.

Fans may have an inkling of what's coming on Drunk Not Dead but still won't be prepared as the clouds gather (on “Horsemen”) and then just open up at the beginning of “Four Beasts Ride.” Here, drummer Pat Kadaver unloads with “Stonehenge”-quality ferocity to set the stage before singer/guitarist Rene de la Muerte and bassist Cain the Dead ride in to unleash hell. The movement in this early playing is dramatic, but delivered with the authority of players honed and hardened by hard knocks, and tightened by their time in clubs. The result is fantastic – the perfect prelude to whet a listener's appetite – and the sort which will get pulses racing at the promise of pending mayhem.

'Mayhem' is exactly what listeners get from there, as The Brains dole out a series of songs which never miss their damned mark. In the cases of “Take What I Want,” “Six Rounds, “I'm Your Nightmare” and “High On Speed” particularly, listeners won't be able to resist stomping along with the band as they race through their changes. Even with that said though, it is important to point out that that Drunk Not Dead isn't the conventional psychobilly record; where other bands (most notably The Creepshow) often grab licks from punk rock as well as ideas from horror movies and infuse them into rockabilly for a little bit of extra mania, The Brains stick to the basics here and just add a bit of youthful enthusiasm for extra electricity. In effect, what listeners get from Drunk Not Dead is a purist's record which draws the inferno out of licks which sounded good when Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats were channeling them, but sound even better with some added heat and urgency implanted as happens here.

It may have taken a while for all the pieces to line up but, on Drunk Not Dead, The Brains have nailed the objective they've been trying to accomplish for the better part of a decade: to breath a bit of new life into rockabilly without necessarily relying to the inclusions of horror movie imagery for stylistic sustenance and punk rock for energy. Here, the band proves that there is life left in rockabilly just all on its own, and it still sounds pretty damned good and vital.

Artist:

www.unionlabelgroup.com/brains/
www.myspace.com/thebrains
www.facebook.com/TheBrains

Album:

Drunk Not Dead will be out as a domestic release on November 8, 2011, but is currently available as a Canadian import. Buy it here on Amazon.ca or pre-order it here on Amazon.com.

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