Brainlove Records began in 2003, setting up camp firmly left of centre and offering shelter to genre benders, weirdos, and all manner of arty bands. No one would be deemed too strange, Brainlove promised, proclaiming themselves to be the label for all those bands who were too “far out to fit in anywhere else, all kinds of bands and artists that the label felt deserved more exposure.”
Years later then, and the not-so-old-yet-not-so-young Brainlove have amassed quite an array of odd-ball artists (36 in total, if their website is to be trusted in it’s up-to-datedness) and their new album ‘Two Thousand and Ace’ is a taster of what they have on offer.
Disregarding the advice not to judge an album by it’s cover, you can tell – just on looks alone- that with ‘Two Thousand and Ace’ you are are in for a kaleidoscopic, messy journey through all the most loony tunes Brainlove has to offer. If images of ponies prancing through a rainbow filled twinkling universe don’t give you a clue about where this album is coming from then I don’t what else can.
Cats in Paris start the album off as it is destined to go on with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink (there’s even dogs barking in there) sound of ‘And Ugly’. Building up like the countdown to a blast-off, this synthy,
keyboard-tastic tune really feels like it should have been used on some 80’s kids cartoon about spacemen. Pseudo Nippon carry on in the same crazy cartoon theme, although anime would obviously be a more suitable animation style for this twisted J-Pop peddler. A treat for all those old school Nintendo nostalgics out there, the high octane ‘Constellation Jebubu’ will gnaw into your brain and happily sit there, tearing your brain cells out and replacing them with brightly coloured pixellated acid crystals.
There is a lot of glitchy craziness on offer throughout this album, and though it’s all great fun sometimes a change is as good as a rest. One of the highlights of the album is when Junkplanet offer us some respite from the full on Korg-o-rama with a wonderfully melodic ‘The Half Life‘. Starting out as a bluesy a capella round, it gently breaks down into a fuzzy, mashed up electro buzz (see, there had to be some ‘electro’ in there somewhere!). Also showcasing some very pretty singing skills are Alice Musics. Their track, ‘In My High Heart There’s A Fox Dying’, is a pure vocal piece that goes gently around and around until you feel calmly hypnotised.
More acoustic goodness comes from Jam On Bread who is a master of low-key, wryly funny, sweet songs. In ‘I Heart Labrador Records’, lone band member Steve strums his ukulele along to mournful pinings that he was signed to the afformentioned Swedish label. It’s quite good of Brainlove records to allow this blatant cry for a record deal onto this compilation, considering, but I’m sure they saw the funny side.
Speaking of funny sides, something that all Brainlove bands seem to share is a good sense of humor. Applicants’ jangly number entitled ‘History Has Been Kind To Spike Milligan’ is testement to this, as is Napoleon IIIrd’s ‘Zebra’, which includes the line “I’m not surprised that you’re the last zebra, those white stripes never suited you, they look better when they’re on my wall.” Both the Applicants and Napoleon IIIrd are sparkly, rocky, indie types, a sound that is also well represented on this compilation (with Bearsuit and Aela being welcome inclusions).
Some other tracks to listen out for on ‘Two Thousand And Ace’ are Modernaire making science sexy with their Leslie Hall-esque track ‘Science’ and The Oracle’s consuming ‘Sunny Graveyard’, a personal favourite, with its cut up voices acting as beats becoming sort of reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers ‘Dream On’.
Keyboard Choir interestingly see ‘Two Thousand And Ace’ as a chance to offer up a weird, yet wonderful, electronic rap sampled piece with ‘In This Situation, Thinking Won’t Help’. It’s a bit different to the spacey, warpy calm feeling tracks they usually give us, but sits really well alongside all the other tracks.
Brainlove’s new compilation is a tumble through many different styles, each as weird as each other. Whilst Brainlove as a record label may represent bands from various genres, this album will delight those who are especially into electronic madness and humorous indie. You will definately get on well with the Brainlove sound if you don’t take anything too seriously (in fact, perhaps a pinch of salt would make a good free gift with this album?) With a limited number of ‘Two Thousand And Ace’ available, those who are in need of a happy helmet should hurry along to the Brainlove site and snap up a copy. Whatever the weather outside, this album is sure to bring the sunshine indoors.
- Napoleon IIIrd
- Brainlove Festival 2012: Live Review
- Noah and The Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
- Futureheads – This Is Not The World
- Brainlove Festival 2011 at the Windmill Brixton: Review