Album Review: Brief Candles-Newhouse EP

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Brief Candles doesn’t really give out a huge ‘we’re a ___ band’ vibe with their name. For all the casual music fan knows, this could be a German trance group or an Polish re-imagining of traditional Aztec musical numbers. Hell, they could be South Sudanese folk metal for all the name initiates. The album artwork, with it’s spiralling, feather-like pattern, narrows it down slightly into a band of artistic integrity (the lack of satanic imagery essentially eliminates Brief Candles as a South Sudanese folk metal band), but it still doesn’t betray a whole lot about the band. Luckily for you, the casual music fan, I can tell you all about them. It would be easier for both of us if you just went on my word that this is an awesome little collection of songs worthy of the bargain $6 price tag. But alas, you are stubborn as a pregnant mule, and you need to be convinced of the greatness of this young Milwaukee band. And so, I shall indulge thee.

‘Newhouse’ starts off with ‘Olympic Sleeper’, a slow-burner’s delight. It begins with a whistling, average but not bad rock music slowly treading along. There’s some nice melodies and guitar breaks in there, and the vocals are pleasant. However, as the song progresses, things get steadily darker and noisier. The guitars swell to monumental heights, crashing down like tsunami waves, and crackly interference wracks the song back and forth whilst cymbals shatter nonsensically. Second track ‘While I’m Asleep’ follows in a similar vein, although to a lesser degree of intrigue. ‘While I’m Asleep’ is cool, but it’s not as cool, like the Jim Belushi. However ‘Dawn Bomb Parties’ fixes the kinks of second track fatigue, whirring into shoegaze bliss. The constant buzzing drone of guitars and bass create a suitably hollow atmosphere for the song to contently fill itself with. Think of it like an ice-cream sundae that melts itself a little bowl for all the chocolate sauce to sift into, and create a perfect concoction of deliciousness. That’s what happens on ‘Dawn Bomb Parties’. 

The EP then shifts into another gear with ‘Terry Nation’, a song that features shuddering drum work, and sub-zero bass lines. The scathing cymbal crashes that occur during the guitar breaks are especially chilly, and the sad and frosty exterior of the track gives it an intrigue unseen from the band up until this point. The final track of the EP, ‘Newhouse’ does a turn on the enclosed feeling of the previous song, instead uncovering a light and easy finish to the EP. Although a continuation on the ice-cold ‘Terry Nation’ would’ve been cool to explore, ‘Newhouse’ still does a fine job of closing down the EP, making sure the windows are shut and the liquor cabinet is locked before braving the outside world that is…Milwaukee. 

To conclude, Brief Candles are a band that remain mysterious, both in name and album artwork, but have a sound that denies the need for a band to shout and scream their name for your attention. No, their blissful tunes do that just fine. 

You can grab the ‘Newhouse’ EP from Brief Candles Bandcamp, right here. 

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