Vinyl Vlog 192

Vinyl Vlog 192

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Friday, 16 December 2016
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Bracket
The Last Page

It seems like Bracket’s career will always be as unappreciated and bittersweet as those characters they sing about in their songs. Or maybe they’ve been singing about themselves all along. Whatever the case, there’s a certain sad sweetness to their songs that’s undeniable. That and a tendency to contain some of the greatest melodies and harmonies ever recorded in punk rock. One would think that’s a recipe for success, but instead has turned out to be more something that appeals to a niche audience.

But never one to give up, Bracket has had a rebirth over the years. First by reforming and going independent. We’re talking independent from everyone as they’ve even dissociated from their previous label Fat Wreck, who most people have associated them with from the beginning. The parting of ways seems to have been on slightly unfriendly terms as they’ve themselves admitted that they never really fit in with those guys. What’s more, the band now records in their own studio, which shows what kind of control they’ve taken over their craft. And what do you do when you’re left to your own devices? You make the loudest possible noise to get noticed.

Bracket seems to have done just that with their latest album The Last page. Time will tell if this indeed will be the final page in their career, but there will be no doubt that they’re going out with a bang. The Last Page is a 70+ minute song full of themes of rejection, self-doubt and love, full of tempo changes and chock full of those harmonies and Beach Boys-like melodies we’ve come to love from the band. It’s hard not to be impressed by how much is contained in the Last Page and how masterfully it’s done. To say that this is probably the most ambitious project is an understatement, because this is surely the most ambitious punk rock album ever.

The vinyl release by Head 2 Wall Records is almost as remarkable as the album itself. It’s split over 2 LPs, on a gatefold where the fantastic artwork of the album truly can be appreciated. It’s both childlike and Crass-like in fashion somehow. Almost like the desperate scrapbook of someone clinging onto the past. The fact that one LP is green and the other black just adds to the haphazardness of the whole album. But more importantly, a 70 minute song is a lot to process, and the splitting of this album into 4 parts only helps taking it in and prevents the listener from distractions. We are punk rockers after all and short attention is encoded in our DNA.

In summary, The Last Page is probably the magnum opus of Bracket’s career and is a remarkable listen to both fans and newcomers. There’s just a lot to learn here. And the fact that this band, after so many years, can push themselves and their craft to such an extent is a thing of beauty. Much like this album.

Get your vinyl from the source.

 

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