Other People’s Problems
FatCat Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/17/2012
In the digital age, taking a DIY approach to one’s music has become more convenient than ever. These days, it’s not uncommon for people to record globally praised records in their bedrooms with just a computer. Then there’s London quartet Breton, who has taken the DIY philosophy just a bit further than most of their peers. They released a couple well-received EPs prior to this full-length. EP number one was a one-sided 10“ record, hand-etched, limited to 15 copies and their second EP was a mere 50 CDs, also handmade, that came with instructions and parts for a synthesizer.
Not so surprisingly, the band come from a background of being filmmakers highly versed in sound and video design, and they take that influence and plug it directly into their music, not so much playing their instruments as they are manipulating guitars, synth, drums, and laptops to cultivate their unusual blend of electronica, pounding beats and ebbs of layered noise meets polished, sonic riffage.
While the first half of the disc has Breton coming out swinging with driving, pulsating and bombastic swells of atmospheric jaggedness, the second half moves toward to a darker, more cryptic avenue, with tracks like “Interference” and “Jostle” dripping with melody and showcasing their more lush, rock side.
Not too shabby for a group whose inception was to merely provide sound tracks to their movies, this first LP is likely to enthrall the listener as it is to confuse them. From moody, thumping rock to acute synth lines and sliced samples to violins and pianos and with vocals that alternate between singing and speaking, this is an experience that both soars with experimental soundscapes yet also retreats to minimalism and elegance. Self described as an Art Collective, that just might be the best description for this. There’s a lot going on in here, sometimes so much to where trying to dissect it becomes overwhelming. Your best bet is to just sit back and enjoy the ride.