Monday, September 28, 2009

The Brown Book - Thirty-Nothing [No Label]

I got this CD-r from Boston-area crew The Brown Book a while back, and for the BB crew life is about just one thing: riffs. If you dig on riffs but prefer to be without all the metal fonts and bullshit “evilness” baggage, you’d be doing yourself a favor to check these guys out.
On Thirty-Nothing, occasionally, they play around with a more experimental vibe but really this is just no frills riffage and all that for it. “Deer Heads” features a brief intro of swelling tones before switching to full-on rock mode. “Fat Birds” has sort of a Fugazi instrumental gone hard vibe to me, tightly coiled and tightly constructed. “Family Outing” is my favorite jam (and title.) It begins as an amalgam of the more recent doomgaze stuff and a 90s alterna sensibility which I dig. The drummer also manages to seamlessly incorporate a nearly hip hop flourish into the loping drum beat which is pretty rad. Halfway through the track The Brown Book stomps on the accelerator and introduces more gnarly riffs in the process. An abstractly rhymthic breakdown combusts into another bout of awesome riffing, which the band rides to its fist pumping conclusion. Killer track. “Snuff King” has a nearly ambient intro of slippery guitar before pummeling its way through to a catchy breakdown that layers two guitar melodies and a bass melody on top each other. The section creates a cool depth of sound which they manage to sustain throughout the excellent, amped up outro. Another favorite, for sure. Interestingly enough for “Jumping the Shark” The Brown Book leaves the distortion behind for a good chunk of the track, making it an uncharacteristically clean-toned anthem. “Half Bald” digs back into the 80’s DC/Dischord era for inspiration for its 1 and a half minutes. The closer, “There is a Boy Looking at Us” features a nice melodic breakdown in the center, similar to that of “Snuff King,” and a great lead guitar melody materializes as the tempo ramps up.
My main criticism, as a listener who focuses on texture, is that the album doesn’t really have an invigorating “sound” or presence throughout. It sounds fine, everything is pretty crisp and clear but doesn’t really have that x-factor that makes the sounds themselves pop at out at you. It’s also quite possible the concept is to strip everything down to just the riffs themselves which is just as admirable.
The CD-r is available from the band’s website or myspace.

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