Brigade

Come Morning We Fight

Written by: TL on 02/09/2008 22:45:00

How do you rate an album where 13 songs out of 13 are good, but none are decisively excellent? That question has been popping into my mind every time I've been listening to Brigade's sophomore "Come Morning We Fight", because even if the the band seems to have progressed in most fields, I'm still not sure I find it stronger than the debut "Lights".

Known to most solely as the band of Charlie Simpson's (of Fightstar, ex-Busted) older brother Will, Brigade is a band that, after landing a deal with Universal following the acclaim of "Lights", have taken a step up in professionalism and a step away from Fightstar's shadow. Effectively, "Come Morning We Fight" displays a band notably 'British', considering audible resemblances to Funeral For A Friend, Placebo and Fightstar, although the latter two are less apparent than earlier, who have raised their ambitions (or had them raised by Universal, your guess is as good as mine) to a conquest of stadiums and major venues near you - at least if their sound is anything to judge from. Melodic riffs, larger than life, drive songs that, while darker than they initially appear, are still streamlined enough to reach mainstream radio soon enough. Take a listen to lead single "Pilot" and you'll know the deal.

Brigade are by no means trying to take a shortcut to stardom though, as there is enough muscle and enough detail in the musical texture for them to keep even seasoned music-fans interested. Vocally, Will has grown since the debut, and while his voice would still suggest for him to be younger than is the case, he expresses capability and variety throughout, breaking seemlessly into falsetto here and there, in a way that should be sure to send the chills down your spine if you catch him doing it live some day.

All that is well and good, but as my introduction suggests, "Come Morning We Fight" is not exactly a triumphant march for Brigade, even if they've matured considerably since the simplistic sound of "Lights". In fact the newfound maturity might even be part of the album's problem, considering how the youthful insecurity over big and dark riffage in songs like "Magneto", "Meet Me At My Funeral" and "Made To Wreck" was what helped "Lights" explode into the consciousness of the industry. "Res Head", "Together Apart" and "Stunning" are sweet tracks respectively, but they have trouble digging as deep into the layers of my awareness as the old songs did, and while Brigade seem to have grown more professional in every aspect, the things that work on "Come Morning We Fight" are all tried and true arrangements, and it seems that the faith in the simple dynamics and curious vocal lines that characterised the first record has been abandoned.

Instead we get a record that is, dare I say characteristic of Universal Records, where Brigade's sound is groomed to fit the grand audience, and while there's barely a moment on it that doesn't function like clockwork, there's also precious little to surprise or interest enthusiasts, and as such, I find "Come Morning We Fight" to be a commercial step forward and an artistic step back, effectively making it an album fans of mainstream rock can listen to, without embarrasing themselves in front of their more sophisticated music-nerd friends.

7

Download: Together Apart, Stunning, Res Head
For The Fans Of: Funeral For A Friend, Fightstar, Placebo
Listen: myspace.com/brigade

Release Date 12.05.2008
Universal Records

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