EP Review: “Get One On” – Brain Food

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Servants of psychedelia could well have found hypnotic new masters in the heady Hippie-aged stylings of Birmingham’s Brain Food.

Their alluring 2018 EP “Get One On” brims with acid-licking call-backs to bygone eras of furious experimentation – a five-track release that’s unswervingly brazen in its flirtation with the trademarks of both prog and psych, bringing technical wizardry and cranium-altering riffs together on a set of songs all too accomplished and engaging for a debut collection.

And where such blatant deference to classic alternative tropes can often be grating, the band, key figures of the Birmingham scene, seem very much set to fill the vintage-loving shoes of those other outstanding acts currently flying the psychedelic flag in the bigger leagues. Think Tame Impala, King Gizzard and Thee Oh Sees sharing stories in a scuzzy Midlands bar and you get an idea of the band’s awesome, crystalline charm. 

This much is clear as soon as “Two Crows” glides into earshot, ushering in Brain Food’s striking cosmic collage of noise. It’s a deeply-textured ballet that toys with danger, and a daring voyage into anything but a sea of tranquillity. Effects-laden guitars, a recurring theme throughout “Get One On”, recall the sugar-sweet excess of Jimi Hendrix at his unmatchable peak. Restriction and compliance to conventional structures almost completely abandoned. 

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“Lemon & Lime” continues to run with this arresting overindulgence, its haunting words remaining buried underneath streams of glistening guitars and wandering textures. Mysticism drenched in the wonders of reverb.

Lead single “Mindwinder” sees the band dip briefly into lad-rock, mimicking Kasabian’s, or perhaps, Oasis’, modern treatment of vintage styles. There’s little doubt that the track’s snarling vocals bear an unmistakable similarity to Tom Meighan’s delivery, with thankfully less of the boorishness.

Overdriven closer “Sweet Unknown” combines the woozy calm of the band’s obvious psych influences with the kind of sleaze-ridden, raging rock ‘n’ roll Queens of the Stone Age would be proud of. It’s winding, protracted outro is excessive, sure, but what self-respecting bunch of noise-mongers isn’t prone to occasionally showy displays? One listen to “The White Album” is proof enough of that.

An arresting, soothing, and at times, tempestuous effort then from Birmingham’s finest exponents of challenging, acid-dashed rock. Hungry for some sonic haze? Feed your head with some Brain Food.

Brain Food are a psychedelic rock act from Birmingham. You can listen to “Get One On” below and check out the band’s Facebook page here .

 

 

 

 

 

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EP Review: “This Must Be The Place” – Declan Vink

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Edgy ethereality is a style that’s au courant in the modern climate of pop music, but Declan Vink is an artist ploughing this particular furrow more impressively than most.

The songs that comprise 2018’s “This Must Be The Place” EP mix delicate vocals with ambient, intoxicating pop swirls – four tracks that draw melancholy into an acoustic embrace, bursting with slow-burning hooks and rich, romantic appeal.

Self-described as a purveyor of “dreampop”, Vink’s style is one too vast and varied to ascribe to a reductive genre, with each song sauntering through a series of emotions as they try out the trends and trappings of modern pop for size.

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“You” opens proceedings from a wistful acoustic plain before unfurling into a moving multi-instrumental patchwork whilst the EP’s violin-heavy, Kerouac-referencing title track is suggestive of a restless existence with several opposing influences picked up along the road.

“Falling” is certainly the most chart-ready, its catchy call-and-answer style adding an infectious flourish to a number where Vink’s shy, affectionate vocals are extremely reminiscent of electro-pop superstars Years & Years.

Disparate though the EP may be, what ties it all together is Vink’s gentle delivery and deft understanding of the makeup of a successful pop record, the wider band’s wherewithal to craft music and melodies that touch on various styles but maintain a strict sense of originality.

Effortlessly good.

Declan Vink is a dreampop project originating from Leeds. Beginning as a brother and sister duo, the act has now involved into a four piece. Find out more here and listen to “This Must Be The Place” below. 

 

EP Review: “Happy Times” – The Spinning Stillness

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The very best rock ‘n’ roll is often the summation of two key areas: a knowing melancholia and a style strong enough to make such downbeat subject matter pale into insignificance.

Orlando upstarts The Spinning Stillness do this in spades, making sunny moments out of sobering meditations on the delightful “Happy Times” EP. The quartet’s sole release is notable for its charming, see-sawing spirit – each song a gorgeously positive explosion of joy and regret.

The EP’s perky title track and opener betrays the influence of the early-noughties garage rock resurgence and, on first listen, radiates a curious Britishness. Think the winsome joie de vivre of peak Libertines or the more commercially-minded output of early Razorlight and you’re on the right track. Nods to cooler, more cult outsider bands, such as Pixies, abound in Charlie Shephard’s sometimes sweet, sometimes curdled vocal delivery. A sumptuous, sunlit collage of indie idols.

Sonic exuberance is dialled down a notch on “To You”, a mellower, more complex offering than its predecessor. But that’s not to say it scrimps on infectiousness or likability, and the downturn in mood is smoothly countered by the track’s sashaying of duelling guitars and arresting textures. Malaise twisted to majesty.

The group’s distinctive luminous guitars and deadpan vocals once again reveal themselves on “Smooth Darkness”, a closing track that sails by on the EP’s catchiest, most heartfelt chorus. In its combination of enthusiasm and finger-pointing, it honours its oxymoronic title in the most startling fashion – the perfect aural bookend to the EP’s shape-shifting moods.

On “Happy Times”, The Spinning Stillness inject a much-needed shot of melody and innocence back into the arms of indie rock. With the future looking bright, we’re eager for our next hit.

The Spinning Stillness are an indie rock four-piece from Orlando, Florida. Listen to the “Happy Times” EP below. Check out the band’s website here.