The dream of the 90s is alive in Europe.
It doesn’t have quite the ring of Fred and Carrie’s version, á la Portlandia, but it couldn’t be more true with The Brew‘s new record Control, and Truckfighters‘ newest effort, Universe. That being said, we (Aaron and I) appreciate 90s music just as much as the next 30-something. We saw bands like Helmet, Quicksand and Therapy? play the same bill for $15. We saw Sepultura on the Roots tour and White Zombie on La Sexercisto (WITH PRONG!). We may have even attended a Cracker or Soul Asylum show. We DID pass on tickets and ride to see Nirvana on the In Utero tour because… well… we’re idiots. Point being, we grew up in the 90s. We were playing in our first bands in the 90s, and the music of the time was very impressionable on what we wrote and continue to write, and I would venture to say that this isn’t too far off for both The Brew and Truckfighters.
The Brew kick off their 7-song, 27-minute record with the single “Repeat.” If this song doesn’t instantly get you in the Soundgarden vibe, you’re listening to the wrong fucking song. The sleazily crafted, but ‘oh so smooth’ chorus hook could not be placed more perfectly. While songs like “Mute” and “Shuffle” hint to a more Kyuss blues with undertones of Screaming Trees and “Fast Forward” belongs behind the opening credits of a major motion picture, the final track “Rewind” takes a page from Jeff Buckley‘s autobiography of songwriting. This is a solid record. Especially for any guitar players or fans of smooth guitar’ing or STRONG vocals out there. This British three-piece puts out a lot of sound and are obviously incredibly skilled players. The production on Control is spotless and safe. Which, to me, is the only downfall to this record. It’s a little too safe. There is nothing wrong with this record, which is exactly what this record is missing, and what the 90s were so good at.
6. Fast Forward
The Brew are:
Jason Barwick – Vocals / Guitars
Tim Smith – Bass / Vocals
Kurt Smith – Drums
Sweden’s Truckfighters, make the perfect match to piggyback with Control. While (for the purposes of this review) The Brew are garnering feelings of the clean, up and coming tech-conglomerate of 90s Seattle, Truckfighters are balls deep in the sludgy, slightly dirtier, but a fuckload of fun 90s Portland with their record Universe. The grungy, muffled-tone guitars on the record’s opener “Mindcontrol” are enormous and demand your full attention. The bass chugs, growls, and seems to be all over the place, yet, in the pocket and holding it all together at the same time on “Prophet”. This guy is good. Vocally there are definite reflections of Layne Staley circa Facelift or Dirt. The stand outs on this record are “Mindcontrol,” “Prophet,” “Get Lifted,” and “Dream Sale”. Each song brings something different to the table, but still keeping within the realm of a bass driven, in your grill, knuckle-sandwich to the dome… land of melody. The only downfall that I could find, and it took some looking, was the album’s final track “Mastodont.” A 10-minute, sometimes meandering and self-indulgent, sometimes nihilistic and absent song that never pushed me over the cliff. This record spent 35 minutes pounding my head against the wall, to only putter out before finishing the job. Regardless, it still slays. This record will fit comfortably on a playlist with artists like Red Fang, Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, TAD, Clutch, McLusky or anyone on Sub Pop Records pre-1997. All in all, some pretty good company to have.
2. The Chairman
4. Get Lifted
6. Dream Sale
Ozo – Vocals / Bass
Dango – Guitar
Poncho – Drums