The Braces

Two Years

Written by: TL on 12/09/2013 15:55:01

The Braces are a punk-rock band from Thousand Oaks, California who, prior to my picking up their sophomore album "Two Years" for review on a complete whim, were entirely unfamiliar to me. Yet after spending little over two weeks of constantly returning to it, I'm already prepared to come right out the gates and say that it's a 2013 essential for any fan of fun, fuzzy and melodic punk-rock. With raspy main vocals that remind me of "Through Being Cool"-era Chris Conley (Saves The Day) and a foot that, while not constantly flooring the gas pedal, itches enough to step on it regularly, the band immediately lets slip what's up: Album opener and highlight "Reasons Not To Hate Everything" launching them into a story about being picked last for sports and spending ".. time at the principal's office, like it was regular class", while the sentimental tone of the guitar melodies contrasts the tongue-in-cheek humor of the vocals.

It's not exactly rocket-science, landing little more than a stone's throw from the styles of bands like The Lawrence Arms and Lifetime and occuring to me as a must-hear for fans of any of those bands, even if The Braces are maybe a shade more polished and tempered. More importantly though, their songs are catchy and dynamic with a consistency that's rare enough both in punk music and elsewhere. "Scratches" and "Black Eye Makeup" for instance, at track three and four, are insanely sticky with infectious bits in which the narrator reflects "I was young! I was angry! I grew up but nothing could change me!" or muses that people will call him when he's famous and all he'll hear them say is "Blablablablablabla, I'm a piece of shit!".

Or how about a song called "Trophies" with a refrain that goes "Failure is my motivation!" or one called "DIY" which righteously states "That's the way it is when you're badass!"? Really, pick almost any of the eleven songs on offer here. They may not do much (if anything at all) to develop the genre, but the songwriting here is just top-notch - The kind where each moment just feels like it's leading to the next and there are only scarce stretches during which your attention can wander. "Two Years" doesn't lend itself well to deep or intricate analysis, it's just a fast and fun record that makes me think you'll have to be pre-disposed towards not liking punk rock at all, if you can possibly listen to it and not end up a bit of fan of The Braces.

8

Download: Reasons Not To Hate Everything, DIY, Black Eye Makeup, Scratches
For The Fans Of: Saves The Day, The Lawrence Arms, Lifetime, American Armada
Listen: facebook.com/thebraces

Release Date 09.04.2013
Paper + Plastick

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