The Death and Taxes EP, even after a year, has been one of my favorite CDs of all times, and â€œAinâ€™t No Trip To Clevelandâ€ was one of the top tracks of the year. It is 2004, and â€œSend Us A Signalâ€ is one a major indie (The Militia Group). Brandtson is one of the only bands that can mesh nineties indie rock with the more common, more present-day thread of emo-rock, and in doing so, forge a new style of rock. Incredible amounts of layering make â€œThrowing Rocks Tonightâ€ the first stand-out track on the disc. The combined efforts of vocals, guitars, and ADHD-laced drums make it a compelling track that holds much of its allure by the old arrangements that the band uses. The shuffling dance-beat of the follow-up to â€œThrowing Rocks Tonightâ€, â€œEscapistâ€ seems alien on an album that uses the previous conventions of rock so well. Mixing the hand-claps and pseudo-synth sounding guitars with a funky base line makes this track as comfortable in a dance setting as it would be on a loverâ€™s mixtape. Moving in yet another direction from anything else established on the disc, the guitar lines on â€œJust Breatheâ€ turn a sedate track into a tempestuous affair, whipping up all other facets of the band along with it.
The electronic crunchiness to begin â€œCâ€™Mon Fascistaâ€ is a ruse elicited to cause only the true fans to continue listening to this track, with its strongest foot being shown during its Matches (â€œDecember Is For Cynics, specifically) influenced vocal delivery. Fitting in quite comfortably in an aural sense between the aforementioned Matches, Authority Zero, and Strike Anywhere, Brandtson finds itself getting the recognition it deserves with the press the track has already gotten. Even when confronted with a seemingly-throwaway track (Mercy Medical), which starts off sounding almost as if Benji from Good Charlotte and Travis from Blink 182 were making guest spots. Brandtson ensures in every track on â€œSend Us A Signalâ€ that Johnâ€™s basslines come to the forefront, and a style of harmony is unleashed that is simply leagues above anything else that can be found in popular music. Carelessly moving through genres, Brandtson have a number of flashes of brilliance on â€œSend Us A Signalâ€. The tracks will be just as hard-hitting and effectual to the 13 yr old just getting into punk music as it will be to the 29 year old jaded hipster. The pop-punk of a track like â€œBlindspotâ€, solid as it is on its own, is bolstered by the inclusion of strings on the track. Each track on â€œSend Us A Signalâ€ would be classics even if shucked of all but the necessary instruments; as it is, this disc is one of the best for Brandtson, for The Militia Group, and for all of emo music.
Top Tracks: Mercy Medical, Câ€™Mon Fascista
Brandtson â€“ Send Us A Signal / 2004 The Militia Group / 12 Tracks / http://www.brandtson.com / http://www.themilitiagroup.com / Reviewed 14 September 2004