San Francisco’s wonderfully weird and musically fascinating The Brankas sound like they’re having a helluva good time with chaos on their new album SAFES, and you’re most definitely invited along for the ride. The music packs catchy, pop-feeling melody strands weaving through sometimes blistering storms of noise, but here — the sense conveyed by that extremely fitting “poppiness” comes out on top. Even as the music melts down and diverges into sputters like an old car that just won’t start but you’re desperately trying to make go anyway — there’s a brightness underneath the whole noisy mix, and that element both distinguishes this work and provides for just a really great communal good time. A crisply tonally painted metaphorical sun is finally coming up over the horizon, brightening perhaps otherwise morbid messes of situations.
The sounds of this record itself truly convey a palpable kind of let-loose, carefree spirit in the face of chaos that’s exemplified by the noise. The dynamics really make this record feel “real.” Although The Brankas are definitely experimenting and going off the edge here — you’re probably not going to find these waves of chaos anywhere near a radio — the music lands close to home with the “poppy” sheen that runs through the whole thing. It’s not too complicated, and you get a sense of perspective on the development’s whole scope. The kind of refreshing spring in your step thereby provided by the music easily feels transferable into real world situations — in other words, SAFES ultimately really feels like an album you can have a lot of subtly constructive fun to.
Lyrically, the band communicate that same kind of alternating manic and dreamy desperation in an emotionally honest feeling, passionate way that really makes the whole piece land that much more powerfully and cohesively. When the band’s vocalist Theo Slavin comes in with questions like the blunt “What was I supposed to say?” on “Burning Hands,” you can really feel the legitimacy of what he and the band are doing. There’s an apparent drive to kind of settle in to an illustrious, passionate embrace of the “noise” running through this record that feels drawn straight from scenes around us — and really, what’s not to love about that? It’s a powerful experience, ready to go.
Check some out. The full album drops August 30