Friday, May 22, 2009

Reviews:: Black Heart Brigade Fathers

The new EP – Fathers - from Brampton’s Black Hat Brigade is good. Before we get into this, I just want to make sure people realize that, because what comes next is might sound negative and almost stopped me from reviewing this EP.

BHB is not Wolf Parade, nor are they as good as one of Canada’s best bands. The highs aren't as high and the lows are lower. Yes, vocally the songs may sound similar, but aside from that and a few keyboard augmented, apocalyptic riffs, I don’t think the bands are making the same kind of music. Certainly the constant comparisons aren't doing the young Brampton upstarts any favors. I know I said the same thing last time around, but I think it is even more on Fathers.

Which brings me to my next point… I don’t think the band wants to (or should have to) constantly deal with the comparison. If you put another vocalist on these songs I don’t think we’d be fixated on the sound and certainly constantly slating seasoned vets to upstart rookies is questionable. While the "other band" tours the world, graces the pages of stereogum, pitchfork and whatever publications aren’t left begging readers for cash to send out another month’s issue, BHB are playing local shows and filling opening slots.

They aren’t "there" yet and who knows, maybe they never will be, but they show the potential and it’s going to be a lot easier for them to reach it if we all stop putting unneeded pressure and expectations on them. You always here of tragedies that force a young person to grow up too soon and miss out on the best part of life, and honestly, for a band that is getting out, playing shows making fans and stretching their creative legs.

People in their twenties and start a band should be about getting drunk and writing songs, some of which are embarrassing only months down the road. They should be getting excited about buying a shitty van and driving across the province, wondering if people will show up and whose floor they’ll be sleeping on. More importantly, they should be about finding the sound they want to grow with the band and that’s BHB is moving towards with Fathers.

People should be talking about the maturity they show, preferring restraint to recklessness ... or the patient builds and control of pace … or the confidence and whimsy the band shows as they stomp through the murder ballad, Signal Fire … or the surging power of Castlevania. You get the idea. There’s a lot of good things going on in these 6 songs (and two quick hitters), and a lot more to think about than another band they might sound like. But, if you need an easy jump off point and some reassurance, you can just fixate on that one point.

MP3:: Black Hat Brigade - Castlevania

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Posted at 8:04 AM by ack :: 3 comments

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At 10:14 AM, Blogger The R.O.B. did sayeth:

Ummm... guilty.

To be fair though, I any comparisons that I have made to WP have been to try and get people to listen to the band, since, IMHO they are better than WP.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger ack did sayeth:

I guess that is kind of my point. WP is one of the biggest and most popular indie bands on the planet. BHB has barely toured outside of ON.

I see where you are going, and understand the temptation to put them side-by-side, but I think trying to compare them is pointless because:
a) you force people to decide which is better
b) you MUST be forgetting how amazing the first EPs from WP were, how much influence they had on the scene and must be judging them on who they are today - again, not fair to newbies like BHB
c) if you think these guys are better, you probably don't like Wolf Parade that much and the comparison becomes more of a back-handed compliment


At 11:06 AM, Blogger The R.O.B. did sayeth:

Well said, point taken (I'm waving the white flag).

What if I were going to call them a hybrid WP/Explosions in the Sky (which, after seeing them live I think really fits - at least on a few songs)/something else?

Am I missing the point? I think I'm missing the point...


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