The past year has been quite the ride for South East London post-step princes Breton. Roman Rappak's crew of multimedia street-geeks have gone from squat party scenester faves through blogger's heroes to tours with Tom Vek and Ghostpoet, with a slew of low-key single releases, remixes and a video trail that scattered their breadcrumbs across the net in calculatedly modern style.
But never mind the filmmaking chops and famous friends, what will annoy the naysayers about `Other Peoples' Problems' is that, well, it's just a terrific record. The sound, whether it be the anti-organic jerk-rock of the stunning `Wood And Plastic', an alt tune awash with melody and filmic splendour, or the primitive threat of single `Edward The Confessor', a brutalist gang chant that veritably tears through the speakers, is consistently compelling; the sonic personification of the Kraftwerkian conceit of man melding with machine.
The near-trance of `Governing Correctly' hums and squawks, like most tracks here, making the most of its palette of samples, strings, sequencers and classic rock band instrumentation -- yet at no point tipping over into indulgence or overplay.
There are, of course, plenty of straight-out, beat-drenched should-be hits -- the absolutely enormous `Interference', for instance; a ram-raiding, marauding beast of a tune draped with the vaguely ominous refrain "It's a mechanism you come to rely on / It's a skeleton / It's a skeleton". Meanwhile `Oxides' plays out like a DJ Shadow take on an early Wu Tang track; all dirtbag stoned mumbles and dark, glitchy beats shot through with delicately plucked cinema strings.
Then there's `Jostle', a longtime live fave among the hooded crew that make up the Breton fanbase; a thoroughly forward-looking set of sounds that come together to create something at once acrobatic classically beautiful.
Ultimately, for all the hipster kudos and scene celebration what we end up with in Other People's Problems isn't some little set of bedroom glitchers trying to out-obscure the next guy's samples, but a whipsmart, tuneful band connecting equally with the head and the heart. Can't say fairer than that.
I haven't bought many new albums this year, simply because very few have managed to catch and hold my attention. I think the reason that this album has is because it is one of the few I have heard recently which doesn't sound like it could have been made in a previous decade. I'm sure a musical archeologist could point out all the music which has influenced this album but regardless it sounds like something unique and not in any way derivative.
It contains many of the kind of stuttering, offbeat rhythms which have been popular over the last few years but it seamlessly blends this with sweeping strings and playful keyboards, something often tried but rarely achieved. The vocals manage to sound detached and apathetic in keeping with the tone of the album without losing their melodic quality. The lyrical themes in the album are not immediate but slowly they piece together in a coherent and interesting way.
I'm not really going to single out any tracks because there isn't really any filler on this album and I've barely paid any attention to track names as I've been too immersed in the music. Overall it is a mixture of a multitude of styles combined to create something which feels genuinely new, and it's a long time since I've said that. Listen to the single, if you enjoy it buy the album as the quality is constant throughout.
I said album of the year in the title but I'd possibly go as far as to say album of the decade so far.
Heard this a few months ago and liked it a lot. Not one to jump on the bandwagon and review straight away but this album is great! To anyone who hasn't hasnt heard it before - its kind of uniquely combines electronica and hip hop sample sounds with indie. The guy who sings on this is awesome and the songs are diverse with a dark but upbeat sound. Amazing how so many average bands get on the tele and increase album sales when these guys are so much much better! Fans of Foals and Friendly Fires will love this band!
Breath takingingly fresh sounding album that leaves indie schmindie also rans and its wake. Even without some of their fine early receordings (of which there are very many) Breton have still crafted a flawless long player that must be a top 3 contender for album of the year. Utterly stunning. And they're British!
Seriously. BUY THIS ALBUM. I've had it for alittle while now (hush hush DJ exclusive) and it really is brilliant! Better than I expected it to be honestly, no throw away tracks at all and some ABSOLUTE epics in there (See Ghost Note, Pacemaker, Oxides and Interference). £3.99 digital download from Amazon! Mercury nomination next?