Things I like: Weird pop music. Intelligent lyrics. Bands that stick two fingers up to the idea that rock and roll is a young man’s game. Musical ideas that have no business being in the same song. Existentialism. Genuine punk attitudes. Proggy landscapes delivered in bite sized chunks. Lists. And for all the reasons just given, The Brainiac 5.
I signed off my review of their previous outing, Exploding Universe, with the line “and if this album is anything to go by, this is where things start getting really interesting” and I have hardly ever written a truer or more understated line, for this new gathering of musical outpourings is interesting and then some. Playing with a slightly straighter bat this time out, the Five who in true Thompson Twins fashion are a four-piece, hang their sound on a psych-punk guitar frame but like most things in their musical world, things are never that simple.
The Human Scapegoat wanders some experimental pathways, which eschew form, fashion and indeed perceived wisdom regarding track length, but instead mine some rich, dark and trippy musical seams. Some Things warps groovesome swampy, tribal blues into a raw, garage rock anthem and there is even room for a touch of smoky, lounge jazz haziness with The World Inside.
The lyrics have a wonderful depth, drawing inspiration from Robert Graves, The Golden Bough and ancient rituals to the rebirth of the post-apocalyptic society and everything in between, and the music is no less grand in its scope, juggling psych, pop, punk, prog, jazz, blues plus blasts of African rhythms and spacey noodlings throwing curve balls along the way.
If ever there was a bridge between punk and prog then this is it. If ever there was a band that proves that the best things come to those who wait, again you can tick that box. It is odd to think of The Brainiac 5 as an emerging band, especially given their collective time served before the creative mast but I really think that the band are currently riding a wonderful upward momentum, one that they missed out on first time around. It is going to be fascinating to see just where it takes them.