The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Sub Pop) CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Sub Pop) CD Review

The Brunettes - Structure & Cosmetics CD ReviewThe Brunettes generated quite a buzz during their multiple tours of US opening for bands like The Shins, Rilo Kiley and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I finally caught the band at the CMJ New Zealand Fest (see previous post for pictures and a show review).

"Structure and Cosmetics" is The Brunettes third CD and the first one to be released domestically in the US. The band's songwriting has matured over the last few releases and this disc isn't quite as "sugary" as the previous releases. The music really reminds me of the bands from twee-pop movement that came out Washington, DC in the mid-90's. Tuscadero, Unrest and Velocity Girl are the immediate bands that come to mind. The male/female call-and-response vocals between Jonathan Bree and Heather Mansfield are reminiscent of early Velocity Girl.

There are some great quirky pop songs on this disc and The Brunettes have sort of an offbeat charm that makes songs like "Stereo (Mono Mono)" work where other bands many not have been so successful. ("Stereo (Mono Mono)" starts with Jonathan and Heather, each in separate speakers (mono), lamenting their separation).

The song structures and song complexities pick up toward the middle of the disc with songs like "Credit Card Mail Order" and "Obligatory Road Song". These songs are more 'dark' than the first few track on the disc and highlite the band's long-time Jonathan Richman influence. Clear production across this disc showcases a wide variety of instruments that range from clarinet to melodica, trumpet and steel guitar.

This is a fun album that holds up to repeated listening. It will be interesting to watch how the band and their sound evolve from here.

The Brunettes' Website
The Brunettes' MySpace page