Descriptions of Vancouver’s Brasstronaut are often rather wide ranging. Experimental pop, indie rock, jazz, classical/cinematic rock… there are many ways to try and pin them down. However it is probably best to step away from meaningless pigeonholing and just listen. One thing that is very clear is that this band (maybe ‘ensemble’ is a better term) are technically gifted and are more than capable of pulling off the complex mixture of expansive soundscapes and intricate arrangements present on Mean Sun without them ever seeming overworked or difficult.
There are a range of different styles on show across the album; the opener ‘Bounce' begins with a Sigur Ros style horns and drums combo, title track 'Mean Sun' is a forebodingly synth-driven affair, 'Moonwalker' is a slow and lonely Sci-Fi number, and 'Mixtape' closes with a blend of The Middle East and languid MGMT. The are slow burners, crashing crescendos, sparse electronics… they really do cover the musical gamut.
While there is much variation across the album, the whole thing flows neatly as one separate entity and is rewarding when listened to for the full 50 minute running time. There are some clever and interesting lyrics to explore on subsequent listens, delivered nicely in lead Edo Van Breemen’s VanGaalen-esque vocals, giving the record great strength across the board. Previous release Mount Chimaera received some high praise (including a Polaris nomination) and Mean Sun looks set to continue the trend.
Mean Sun is set to be released by Tin Angel Records on 21st October. The band are touring the UK in November (dates below).
03/11/12 Cavern, Exeter, UK.
04/11/12 Buffalo Bar, Cardiff, UK.
05/11/12 The Castle, Manchester, UK.
06/11/12 Taylor John’s House, Coventry, UK.
07/11/12 Surya, London, UK.