Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bracket - Requiem CD Review

This, quite easily, is the oddest punk release to be heard in quite some time. Not so much because of the music itself (although there are some head scratching moments), but because of everything associated with this release that isn’t the actual music.

First, I was pretty confused when I was looking over the tracklisting on the rear of the cd. Every song was “Warren’s Song pt. ”. This isn’t so out of the ordinary in itself as many prog bands label their movements and sections of extra long songs. But none of Bracket’s songs are in order. For example, track one is “Warren’s Song pt. 16” and track seven is “Warren’s Song pt. 17”. In between are parts 19, 14, 24, 11, and 23 respectively. So did Bracket make one big release about Warren and mix it all up?

Second, these guys still exist? It’s been six years since their last studio release so, for all intents and purposes, most people probably figured they hit up the punk band retirement home. And, no, this isn’t a reunion effort.

Third, and finally, the contents of this CD are off the wall in every direction. You have do-wop flavored pop, bouncy mid 90’s style punk, modern schmaltzy pop-punk, acoustic sing-a-longs, Weezer inspired quirk rock, blistering distorted punk, and peppy melodi-punk. There really hasn’t been this eclectic of a punk album put out in well over six years, and there probably won’t be another one for at least six more (unless Bracket get around to making a follow-up to Requiem before that).

Listening to this effort straight through is quite a trip as each of the 17 songs has an oddly unique feel. It was almost as if the band entered the studio on 17 different days, each time trying their hardest to create a new song that would sound nothing like what they did on any of the other 16 days. If that's the case, then for the most part, they succeeded.

For most discerning punk listeners, 17 songs would be a little bit of overkill, but in this case there is so much variation that you feel like you ended up with either a Bracket sampler disc in which you get to hear bits of all the punk sub-genres they are capable of playing or a Bracket homage album. Not a disc that is an homage to Bracket, but a disc that shows Bracket playing homage to all of their influences.

Six years may have been a heck of a long time between releases, but in the end it turned out just fine as this release comes out at a very opportune time, just as the classic Epitaph / Fat Wreck punk sound is making a comeback. Obviously this isn’t a standard Epi-Wreck sounding record—it is so much more diverse—but it encompasses a broad range of what was popular in that sound that you’ll feel nostalgic throughout Requiem’s running. So kick back, pop this disc in, and take a trip back to punk’s glory days of the 1990’s.

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