The Brakes – Give Blood

Brighton Rocks
Brakes – Give Blood (Rough Trade)

AC/DC’s Bon Scott let cry a Marlboro-scorched, “if you want blood you’ve got it!” The Stones sneered, “let it bleed,” and Dylan bled on the tracks. Iggy Pop, Richey Edwards and Kurt Cobain have bled outside of their records and this only scratches the surface. Claret seems to be the currency of rock ‘n’ roll. Spill it openly – and with fist-pumping abandon – and you can buy your way into music’s sweat-soaked pantheon.

In contrast, Brakes are the crimson kings of Brighton, shunning the anaemic addictions of their forefathers. The band’s blood letting has been limited to a rush of gigs at the Freebutt, in Brighton, and the odd headline and supporting slot. The press have been offered few red rags. It seems that Tugboat Records and then Rough Trade had to coerce the four piece into releasing their debut single – Pick Up The Phone – and debut album, Give Blood.

Brakes do have other commitments. Conducting Give Blood are British Sea Power’s Eamon, Tom and Alex from The Electric Soft Parade and Tenderfoot’s bass player, Marc Beatty. But even without these distractions you get the impression that Brakes would shun the oxygen-fuelled heights of over exposure. Give Blood is the sound of four friends playing and enjoying music. Simple. No digital hands were employed on the band’s debut album. Instead, songs were captured live on 2” tape.

The result is a rich-veined album crammed with needle, oxygen and a flowing wit. Corpuscular pixies run through the Frank Black sunshine of opener, Ring A Ding Ding, before pouring into a country-fried pool of gloriously warm paranoia. Eamon Hamilton yelps, rants and reflects; instruments scratch, soothe and pound.

The band’s second single, All Night Disco Party, is out on June 13th. Cut yourself some tourniquet slack, open the mainline and inject. Brakes give blood. Soak it up.


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