brunch are a four piece noise pop outfit from London, featuring Sean Brook (Vox, Guitar), Bobby MacPherson (Drums) Adrian McCusker (Guitar) and Tom Rundell (Bass). This week sees the release of the band’s sophomore full-length, Useless, via Hanger Records, an album strung up between the opposing poles of mania and catatonia. With a baseline too-cool detachment and languid casualness of Pavement, the songs jump and spike with noisy instrumentation and unhinged vocals, as though the band are trying to puncture the benumbed bubble in which they find themselves.
The result is a noisy and volatile album that’s exciting and rough, like an unfamiliar acquaintance you could never quite trust but hang around all the same, hoping some of the reckless energy might rub off. Opener ‘Wabbata 1’ introduces itself with huge guitars and only lets up in brief windows of calm, while ‘Trapezoid’ pulls the opposite trick, a simmering energy sparking into clamorous noise that propels itself with an almost physical weight. Lead single ‘The Goose’ is doubly unpredictable, channelling the unstable weirdo vibe of Krill, shifting and swelling into a whirlpool of guitars.
“Watching TV feels like family now I’m fully grown
and I pray that I won’t go back on the scene
with lurid fantasy where the danger’s unknown
step away from the window”
There’s little in terms of let up: ‘The Table’ bringing to mind the drifting dreamlike desperation of Strange Ranger, ‘Yet’ starting slow before sweeping you up into its currents, and ‘Useless’ Furniture’ twitching in several directions at once, the anxious, jumpy nature present even within lines, within single words. ‘Swell’ does it’s best to iron out the kinks into a regular indie pop song, but the rhythm is still distorted, the vocals still prone to sudden violent bursts. “Sorry that I raised my voice,” Brook sings, as though it’s as much of a shock to him as it is to us.
Perhaps the heaviest song on the record, ‘I Drive’ opens in a lurching storm of noise that never quite passes, a great vibration that chatters the teeth and rattles the bones, at odds with the laconic vocals. That said, ‘Teeth’ does it’s best to top it, a pulsing din on which Brook rides, coming off confident and brash. Closer ‘Wabbata 2’ is likely the most restrained, at least at the beginning, though a looming sense of foreboding heralds the inevitable crash. However, won over by the brunch aesthetic, by now you are expecting it, demanding it even, staring up in awe as the crest blocks out the sun and falls all around you.