Breton - Other People's Problems
I first saw Breton when they supported Tom Vek on his much vaunted return last year. That certainly wasn't any type of random coming together, as anyone who has followed and worshipped the career of Mr Vek as I have can hear his influence all over this album. I am sure that Breton would prefer to avoid any sort of comparisons with anybody though such is their want and desire to do something different and experiment with sound and vision. I feel the Vek comparisons are fair though, and what it has produced is an album packed with quality.
Other People's Problems opens with a track instantly showcasing the skills that Breton possess in bucket loads. 'Pacemaker' has layer after layer after layer of rhythms and instruments coming together to make a wonderfully constructed piece of music. I'm sorry that I've lasted half a paragraph before bringing him up again, but 'Electrician' could easily have come off either Tom Vek album. Even the lyrics about learning their trade would fit in with anything from We Have Sound.
The layering sets the tone for most of the remainder of the album. Half way through we come across 'Wood and Plastic', which I can't help but think sounds like it should come from a second or third album such is the confidence behind the sudden change of pace and direction the track take. This is not a song written by a band releasing their debut album, having only formed 18-months or so ago. But then again this is not an ordinary band. They've set themselves up in BretonLABS and they dedicate themselves to their studio work. Accompanying films, remixes, production work - the work they put in is evident and pays off.
Like all the best things in life, the band do like to keep us on our toes though. Before the beautiful close 'The Commission' there is 'Jostle'. How do you describe 'Jostle'? It is the intro and ongoing backing track that sets it apart. It's almost Balearic Euro-poppy. You can just see 17-year olds jumping around to it while they inhale laughing gas while being filmed for BBC3. It's brilliant though. I absolutely love the way it comes from nowhere and throws you out of the comfort zone you've just built up over the previous nine tracks.
This is a supremely confident debut album from a hugely talented band. The promise they showed in the preceding EPs has been fulfilled with aplomb. Sometimes you wonder if bands can keep up with the changing tastes in music. Breton make you wonder if music can keep up with them. When Tom Vek released We Have Sound he was ahead of the curve. Breton are the next corner on and everybody else is playing catch up.
Purchase and listen
Taking place in the esteemed surroundings of Leeds University, Constellations was a brand new early winter festival taking place for the first time in 2010. Far more than your usual university shindig, this festival had a carefully-crafted lineup and also heavily promoted art, film and anything else you can think of that is creative and would inspire people. It was to Constellationsâ credit that the packed crowd was a cross-section of all ages, and youâd struggle to find something that pe... [read more]
405 photographer Richard Gray caught Breton at Corsica Studios. Have a look at the photos. [read more]