Brain Failure – American Dreamer (CD)

Brain Failure is the new Rancid, going for the all-out choruses and fast playing that Rancid has by and large dropped from their new style. One doesn’t really hear much in popular music coming from China, and Brain Failure is probably the best introduction to the world’s most populous nation that I could conceivably come up with. I almost feel bad that I never picked up the fourth volume of Give ‘Em The Boot, because Brain Failure’s track would have almost made the price of the disc worth it. There is no respite on this album, no time to breathe and Brain Failure, being around for such a long period, knows how to stoke up the fires dormant in every listener’s chest. Each song is almost as much of a punk rock anthem as those cuts on Roger Miret’s new album, containing a catchy song structure and an on-again, off-again Tim Armstrong vocal imitation by Xiao Rong. The multiple-chorus of a track like “Fun and Fight Tonight” will drill itself into a listeners head, and the easy choruses will ensure a large crowd at each of their shows singing right along.

The bassline that starts off “8899” leads into a guitar riff that seems perfect on The Offspring’s “Ignition” EP, and really is the first solid step away from the Rancid-mold that Brain Failure had exploited up to that point. The Ramones-esque vocal chorus links the past to the semi-present, and makes the track one of the best on the disc. Ken Casey (Dropkick Murphies) produced/mastered this album and eir endows it with an energy that surpasses that on the average Dropkick Murphies album. While I would like to hear more of Brain Failure as a band instead of the tremendous list of their influences, the simple fact is that the band plays punk rock in a way that would put all but the best bands in the scene to shame.

Mixing in a little ska during “Such A Dangerous”, Xiao’s vocals sound as smooth and clear as a Jamaican legend instead of being some random Chinese person – gone is the broken English of bands like Laughing Cunts, but rather a true international effort. Being around for such a long period of time, Brain Failure has influenced legions of new follows in their native China, and these new bands could not have had a better group of people to look up to!

Top Tracks: 8899, Coming To The USA

Rating: 7.5/10

Brain Failure – American Dreamer / 2005 Thorp Records / 16 Tracks / / / Reviewed 18 March 2005

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