By Yasmine Shemesh
Vancouver-based garage punks BRASS are oppressed, angry and they don’t care who knows it.
The band’s self-titled EP, released earlier this year, is a sucker-punch of fervent screaming, blistering guitar and gear-wrecking ruckus. Tortured and frustrated, the gruff cries of frontman Devon Motz explore the angst of trying to figure out the meaning for existence while in the crux of young adulthood. The band sounds like something composed by the cast of SubUrbia if they were left alone in a room full of instruments with a bottle of Jack Daniels: self-depreciating with fleeting moments of clear-eyed insouciance.
Opening track “Cause” is only a minute and a half long but the infectious mosher introduces the group with noisy purpose. Anchoring basslines are paired with catchy power chords and drummer Rory Troughton wallops his skins furiously as Motz howls over all the commotion. Diving a little deeper, “HagFish” spits upon the agony of insecurity. Today sucks. Everyone is more interesting. The only escape from this banal place is getting high. BRASS finds their comfort in full-blast thrash, with sore shouts broken up by lead guitarist Tristan Milne’s finger-blistering riffs that play in the gritty vein of Mudhoney.
If there is such a thing as a feel-good track on BRASS, it would be “Spilling Paint.” Zak Garret’s bass provides a meaty backbone to the cranked-up fuzz and Motz’s ferocious bark prompts to “pay no heed to the fated smiles, just keep a bounce in your step.” Maybe life ain’t so bad, after all. “Strut Punchin” perhaps encompasses BRASS’ overall manic perfectly—the loser anthem that proclaims it’s “never doing anything” is executed with brutal force and feverish licks, clawing its way through a dismal world and punting it straight down the galaxy.
There’s something catastrophically beautiful in the way the foursome’s anguish provokes the boundaries between volatile conflict and resolution. Though it’s a short compilation of four tracks, the assault delivered on BRASS is just as powerful as if it were a full-length LP. Verdict? BRASS kicks ass.
BRASS is available on BRASS’ bandcamp.
Published online at www.vancitybuzz.com, August 2014