Brain Box - Serial Attractions
Recorded at Zero Return Studios by Eli Akins
Mixed and produced by Matt Chenoweth
Mastered by Alex Lowe
Perhaps you've mused to yourself, while stuck in traffic or lost on some winding pine-studded highway, that what the Southern music scene really needs is a solid injection of third millennium lo-fi punk Elvis Costello-ism. If so, then you need to be listening to Brain Box, whose new album Serial Attractions offers skillful craft and a densely layered, deeply focused soundscape that breaks free of the hyper-tough modern rock standard. True to the vibrant tempo and punchy beats of their self-proclaimed punk roots, with a solid dose of the geek-chic rather than mohawk-and-safety-pin vibe, Brain Box serves up a truly enjoyable listening experience.
All three members of Brain Box provide vocals, resulting in some sweet Beatles-style harmonizing on several tracks. The album's lead-off track especially highlights Brain Box's musical inheritance from Elvis Costello, and the lead vocals maintain that connection throughout the album. Both lyrically and musically, the band brings to mind Weezer and the Squeeze. However, Brain Box clearly stays on the right side of the line between influence and imitation, and their own sound comes through on each track.
Brain Box's three-piece guitar, bass and drum set-up goes to show that complexity is best derived from simplicity. With ringing ska-punk guitar lines and some bright and brushy drumming, Brain Box maximizes the tone of every instrument while keeping the sound pared down and immediate. The three performers often part ways in mid-song, each one spiraling off on his own, creating small moments of glorious rock cacophony that add texture to the track and then fluidly twine back together. Matt Chenoweth's powerful guitar solos, in particular, soar out of several tracks into the lower reaches of the Hendrix stratosphere. The music was recorded all in one afternoon, and the album communicates the intimacy and exhilaration of such a session. Serial Attraction flows bouncily from track to up-tempo track, leaving listeners nodding along from start to finish. (Retox Records) -April Gentry