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Bracket | Requiem | review | punk | Lollipop
by Tim Den
In an interview conducted a few years ago, NOFX bassist/vocalist and Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike named Bracket (semi-jokingly) as "the laziest band on the label." Not just cuz they're indeed tortoises when it comes to putting out albums (last studio release? Five years ago), but because it must take geniuses an extra amount of lazily hanging around to come up with songs of this caliber. If we get something as good as Requiem every half a decade, I'm willing to wait for it.
Requiem, ironically not released on Fat Wreck Chords, is Bracket's first album to be recorded, produced, and mixed entirely by the band at their newly established Trailer Park Studios. When taken into consideration that the band had to construct the facilities and write these fine 17 tunes, five years doesn't seem like a long time. Even a casual listen to this record will show the amount of work which went into the arrangements, especially the vocals. Bracket have always been more "classic pop" than pop punk, so it's no surprise that the band go full out on Requiem, conjuring the spirit of Pet Sounds into powerful blasts of distortion. Just how many vocal tracks are there on this thing!? Sounds like someone's been listening to Jellyfish nonstop! With harmonies up the wazoo - and a thorough understanding of West Coast pop mentality, including how NOT to make double-tracked vocals sound like ass - Requiem is a dizzying display of melodic counterpoints and bittersweet hooks dressed up in beefy guitars. The fuzzy-around-the-edges production might not be as slick as some of the band's past works (understandably), but it lends the music a tougher edge that's sorely needed since the harmonies are so... well, pretty.
Kids these days think that anything written in bone-basic E-major with some whining over it is "emo." Make them listen to Requiem and laugh as their heads explode from receiving the sheer melodic assault. Bracket are filling the gap left behind by both Jellyfish AND Face To Face... LOVE IT!