Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Brakes

  • Give Blood [Rough Trade, 2005] A-
  • The Beatific Visions [Rough Trade, 2007] A-
  • Touchdown [Fat Cat, 2009] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Give Blood [Rough Trade, 2005]
The singer from British Sea Power joins three even lesser U.K. alt-rock notables in 16 short-and-shorter ditties about their scenester lives. Some observers classify these ditties "country-punk," while other crankily insist they're "anti-folk," proving mainly that nobody knows what to make of simple little guitar-band songs on a scene where everyone's busy refining his or her artistic vision. But if you believe as I do that the alt-rock subculture means more than almost any individual alt-rocker's vision, they're an up. Four bohemian fellas with a sense of humor who relate actively to their friends and lovers, despise Dick Cheney, and get wasted some--the last of which they'll cut down on. A-

The Beatific Visions [Rough Trade, 2007]
A hopeful sign, or at least a piece of luck. Finding the Bowie-esque British Sea Power and Doors-esque Electric Soft Parade wanting as life projects, Eamon Hamilton and the brothers Tom and Alex White have made their postpunk goof their main gig. Nine of the 11 songs are fast, and nine of the 11 songs are good--it's as simple as that for once and suggests that some proggy post-er boys (I mean that in so many ways) are capable of returning to their 1977 roots. Not only that, a sweet young thing at the BBC has such a short memory or limited knowledge base that he called their country-flavored punk "original-sounding." A-

Touchdown [Fat Cat, 2009]
When you can parse lyrics that convey no identity, figure they also don't mean much to the catchy, basic fellas who aren't putting them across ("Two Shocks," "Worry About It Later"). *