Brandtson – Hello, Control (CD)

Brandtson starts off their “Hello, Control” with an extraordinarily restrained style that just feels as the band will kick into full rock mode just a few seconds later. It takes a mature band to break listener’s expectations, but Brandtson does it in a masterful way on “A Thousand Years”. The inclusion of a synthesizer with tracks like “Denim Iniquity” makes the band sound a little bit like The Bravery or Panic at the Disco, a far cry from the Brandtson of the “Death & Taxes” EP.

While the sound that Brandtson is created with “Hello, Control” may be much more in step with what is called “popular” nowadays, I still see this as a maturation of the band’s style from previous recordings. The songs on “Hello, Control” are all eminently singable; there is not as much of a mosh pit during a Brandtson concert as whole rows of individuals getting funky. While a number of these tracks reside in the three and a half to four and a half minute range, Brandtson has the ability to make individuals think that the songs are no more than two minutes. Thus, when individuals slide this into their CD player, it will only seem like fifteen minutes have passed when Brandtson gets done with “The Secret”, even when three times that amount has slipped away.

When Brandtson throws in the second set of vocals for songs like “Nobody Dances Anymore”, the band ups the ante to the highest levels on this disc. The band reaps everything they’ve put out on the table and more, and during songs like “Cold War”, Brandtson even goes into the realm of bands like U2. “Cold War” might have the outward appeal of an U2 track, but individuals will hear hints of Good Charlotte and Death Cab For Cutie all squished into this track. The different movements of the song really make the song representative of everything that the band does on the disc. Brandtson may just be the band that mixes together the inorganic with the human in the most convincing way; nothing sticks out as particularly “odd” on “Hello, Control”. Each of the songs on “Hello, Control” could make it onto Mtv2 without much effort; Brandtson seem to have hit their stride with this album. Let’s just hope that Brandtson can come up with the same solid sound with each of there next few albums.

Top Tracks: Friend or Faux, Here We Go

Rating: 7.5/10

Brandtson – Hello, Control / 2006 The Militia Group / 13 Tracks / http://www.brandtson.com / http://www.themilitiagroup.com / Reviewed 09 April 2006

[JMcQ]

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