Apparently this band is called “Brain Flannel.” I don’t know what that means, but as somebody capable of reading the English language, I’m pretty sure it’s actually “Brain Unequal To.”Empty Set here is their second full-length, and it’s really only a full-length by a hair, totaling 20 minutes for the 10 punk rock jams that it contains.
The band itself is a four-piece built along vocal interplay between Elise Anderson and guitarist Nick Goode as they trade barbs back and forth in rapid-fire motion—and not bothering to harmonize or smooth out the edges when doing so. It’s a high octane band that rips through their material, almost seemed rushed as they play the songs on this here record. A lot of other bands come to mind when spinning the disc, but typically it’s different bands in different songs. In other words, they wear their influences on their sleeves, but they aren’t copycats either. They pull a bit from here and bit from there.
The record, and the music in general, is spastic and ADHD. It’s short fused and short attention span, burning through the tracks at EP pace and the transitions between songs can be abrupt and sometimes feel a bit unplanned, as though the record is on random. The back and forth vocals accent the hyper feeling, with the energy level reminding me a bit of Spokenest, whom I reviewed last year, in their frantic-ness, but with a strong 1980s LA hardcore influence.
The songs are still fast and angry, but the bass is pummeling in a way that really defines their sound. “Dirty Realism” and “N.A.S.” serve as good examples of the style. The vocals come courtesy of lead vocalist Anderson, with Goode picking up (to make up a number) probably 40% or so. Anderson can lean toward the screechy side, and a song like “Dirty Realism” is a welcome mix-up when it comes, playing more like a John Doe/Exene (X) styled melodic exchange than the shouting match that it, at times, feels like.
This is a record for the caffeinated punk set—not in a Descendents fashion, but in its hyper pacing that, should you leave the room for a phone call, you may just miss the entire record. It’s fast and no holds barred.
7.0 / 10
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