Bank of Brian
Leave Your Flaws At Home (Vegas Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Pop, a la Weezer, Southern California's Bank Of Brian dreams up catchy tunes set over a base that can be both up tempo and bright, or soft and subtle. Either way, the hooks always remain present.
Starting off with the title track, the CD begins on a shaky note. The song is loaded with thick power chords that hide behind the vocals, while the pace of the song is slow. You'll feel as if everything is about to pick up any minute, but they just leave you hanging there. Never delivering the punch that makes your head spin, you may be a bit too quick to write them off as just another 'pop gone bad' band. But that would be a mistake, because, as the disc progresses, they get better.
"Wish" proves it, too. A power-pop number with a lot of 'oomph,' they pick up the tempo and bust through with a song that packs both a kick and some vital hooks. The drums seem to be the inspiration here, pushing the song into the powerful arena in which it lies. But the roar of the guitar and straight-ahead, honest vocals give the song the edge it needs to follow through.
"Take This One Back" is another track that helps push this album above mediocrity. Snappy hooks kick and scream for attention, and rightfully so, while the rhythm section just intensifies everything. Quick-to-the-punch drums always seem to be running around in your mind, their meaty beats just too juicy to turn away from. The bass furnishes a lot for the song to feed off, helping to add the additional power everything requires to be properly fueled. Then there is the power chord fuzz of the guitar, which works well with the clear, sincere vocals. Together, they are able to attract and maintain your interest.
"143" shows how the band is able to lure you in with a very gentle intro, then, just as you think you've got the song mapped out, they turn up the juice and start spinning heads. Once they're back in their comfort zone (up tempo power-pop with plenty of fuzz), they are able to lay hook after hook on you. But, avoiding pigeonholes and traps, they decide to end the song in the 'quiet box' zone. Once again soft, if you don't fully pay attention you might think they song has ended. But once you know the quiet ending is there, you'll come to enjoy it.
"Yeah" has to be the brightest track on this disc. Very infectious, tight, and an all-around good composer, the rush this song brings to you will not be forgotten. Quickly slipping out of the 'quiet box' from the previous track, they run circles around you with plenty of hooks. One listen will prove to be all you need, because you'll soon find yourself casually singing along with out even knowing it. That's the job of a great hook, and they prove to be successful here.
"All of Me" ends the disc with some more very faint, quite melodies. Too faint, in fact. You'll be so wrapped up in their faster, louder songs that when they slip back into the quiet corner you'll almost forget about them. Realizing this, they do turn the amps up for the remaining minute of the song. Not enough to turn the song around, it does, however, serve as a decent close.
They've got a lot of valuable pop skills, but it seems they don't know how to fully utilize them. Well-crafted and structured, their songs need only time to bring them to life. A bit more touring, more live shows, and more studio experience will help put these guys higher up on the pop chain. But this is still a good album, and it deserves a listen. I'll give it a B.