Love Is A Duel EP

Written by: TL on 05/12/2010 00:41:39

When I recently became acquainted with the first LP by the third Simpson brother, namely Union Sound Set's fine debut "Start / Stop", I instantly started to wonder what was going on with the eldest of the three Simpsons, the last of which is of course Charlie, the ex-Busted, now Fightstar singer. Curiously, Will Simpson's Brigade had been absolutely absent from my mind since the release of his band's second LP "Come Morning We Fight", but fortunately that was changed by the band giving away their new "Love Is A Duel EP" to the readers of Rock Sound magazine.

Now, I often wonder why bands choose to release EP's when really it seems they've stepped up to LP's, producing two or more of those in a row. In the best cases, it is to treat die hard fans with curiosities or experiments that never made it onto an LP, but in the case of Brigade, I first suspected that it was more of a step down in ambition, after "Come Morning We Fight" seemed to fizzle in terms of staying power, despite receiving favourable reviews.

If that is the case however, you can't tell from the sound of the record, because it seemingly picks up exactly where "Come Morning..." left off. Brigade remain a band that tries to fuse light touches of cinematic elements, like those utilized by Fightstar and Lights Action for instance, with a more straight forward, hard-rocking approach, reminiscent of Foo Fighters and the hardest of Placebo's songs. I have wondered if it is the indecision when it comes to sticking to either direction, or merely the fact that Will Simpson, despite commendable technical proficiency, still owns the least powerful voice of compared to his brothers - that has hindered the band in really coming up with something excellent, because if you go back and actually listen to the band's material, their tracks are consistently good, and there are touches of true goodness to be found here and there.

Somehow however, things haven't ever added up to a big break for Brigade, and if "Love Is A Duel" is anything to go by, then they won't do so in the foreseeable future either. For that to happen, this EP is too much of the same compared to "Come Morning..." There's a decent chorus in "Camouflet", some charismatic, low range vocal work in the verse of "Press The Six", and a hard-rocking instrumental bridge in the closing title track, but still I don't get the feeling that it all comes together into any truly memorable moments. The tunes are entirely rocking and worthy of appreciation when you have them on, but unfortunately, Brigade seem to be still looking for that spark of specialness that's going to actually make you want to have them on, after you've heard their EP a handful of times. For better or for worse, Will and his friends seem to be stuck making music that they call "timeless" and I call "listen-worthy for a few weeks, but then a bit forgetable".


Download: Camouflet, Love Is A Duel, Press The Six
For The Fans Of: Twin Atlantic, In Case Of Fire, Fightstar, Lights Action

Release Date 10.11.2010
Caned & Able / Roadrunner Records

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