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Breton - War Room Stories

A record that draws upon their art foundations more than their first.

Remember those kids at school? The ones in science that would double acid quantities in practicals and throw flammable stuff into flames just for the shits and giggles? They’re kind of like Breton; full-out experimentalists with a youthful charm, meshing all kinds of stuff together to see what reacts/fizzes/blows the place up. After all, they did previously work under the art-collective moniker of Breton Labs.

Physics-wise, their music’s also buzzing with an electrical energy. Their last album – 2012’s ‘Other People’s Problems’ – contained the aptly named ‘Electrician’ and ‘Pacemaker’; pounding tunes frothing at the metaphorical mouth with bass. ‘National Grid’ continues the electrical theme, boasting a colossal groove of brassy synths and erratic beats straight from Foals’ drum kit, and remaining loyal to their earlier material’s throbbing bass and beat assault.

Many of the tracks however, have followed a slightly new direction. They’ve been varnished with a new layer of subtlety and contemplation, resulting in something more varied and mature. Take ‘Closed Category’ – it’s one of the most guitar-based tracks the band have crafted – sampling a vintage voiceover and climaxing in a beautiful Verve-inspired cinematic ending. Lead single ‘Envy’ is similarly intriguing and nuanced, with a math-rock steel drum groove that’s a bit like Bastille; but barrels more interesting. ‘S Four’ may be named after the grimmest bus to plague Britain, but it’s far from dull; it changes beats and samples the sharpening of a knife.

All this serves to prove that Breton have made a record that draws upon their art foundations more than their first. Sure, it’s true that overall it’s perhaps not as immediate as their debut. But there’s still some absolute charmers; ‘Legs and Arms’, for example, has a mega chorus that’s catchier than a ball made of superglue. Plus, with a few listens, fantastic subtleties leap out - the Metronomy synths on ‘Got Well Soon’, the glockenspiel of ‘Search Party’ – there’s far more ingredients in the mix, which is a great thing.

Tags: Breton, Reviews, Album Reviews

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