Review: Brick + Mortar – Making Moves

Reviews / July 16, 2012

Brick + Mortar offer up the perfect tease in ‘Making Moves’

Mad Dragon/Boombox Generation (feature photo by Dan Feeny)

Sonic gossamer threads train against the deafening silence before a muffled voice from above, below, the left, the right, commands that everyone, “get the fuck out.” However there is no time, as a storm, built up of thick armed static and whip smart distortion, barrels through the speakers. The bass — dancing and throwing punches — propels the audio storm forward while the drum cracks — alternating between bright and dull — give the storm shape. And from the luminescent static a voice — clear, with a wry smirk on its face — rains down. The storm’s destruction is obvious; speakers with the volume turned up, way up.

Brandon Asraf and John Tacon, who are more commonly referred to as Brick + Mortar, are responsible for this audio storm. The 7-inch, aptly named Making Moves, is the second release in Mad Dragon Records and The Boom Generation’s  7-inch series and it’s bombastic and delectable headphone candy — greedily devoured and enjoyed with each repeated flip. And there will be many.

Brick + Mortar offer two starkly different sonic landscapes on Making Moves. “Bangs” bares its teeth with brash and bratty distortion, but offers an infections chorus tempered with neon fuzzed guitar. “Old Boy,” on the other hand, begs to be danced with, as its whirlwind of hand claps, driving bass and excitable drums are seasoned with static and distortion. On the digital download card that comes with Making Moves, the band has added an additional song. “Other Drugs,” possesses echos of both “Bangs” and “Old Boy.”

The sonic landscape of “Bangs” weaves together a snapshot of a turning point, the first step forward after being mired in isolation and doubt. “I know I’m never gonna make it anyway/I think I’m gonna make it anyway/I know but really I just don’t care/I think I’m gonna make it anyway/I know the things that I just can’t say/ I think I’m gonna say ’em anyway/I know I think I’ve finally found my way/I think I’m gonna make it today.”

“Old Boy” possesses almost a drunken fervor as Brick + Mortar try to prove, or maybe convince themselves, more than anyone else, that they are just as good as their roots, their idols. “It doesn’t matter what I do or I say/I never ever seem to get his attention/He lives a hundred thousand miles away/I can’t decide if he’s a myth or a legend/I can’t be the best/still I hold on to/I won’t be the best/still I hold on to.”

The digital bonus track “Other Drugs” is an ocean, prone to tides and swells, as Asraf’s vocals ride through almost breezy bass lines and dancing drums before subtly shifting into dark and melancholy seas — fueled by heavy bass, thunderous “cracks,” and muted growls of fuzzed distortion. The track is a vignette about fractured romance and the beginnings of its dissolution. “I can’t seem to trust/lines were meant to be drawn, and then be crossed…once you’ve turned to go/step outside of your skin, remain exposed/your words exposed.”

With their entry in the Making Moves series, Brick + Mortar have created an enjoyable tease. Each side offers a different experience, a different soundscape and while “Other Drugs” is included with the digital download, the album is shy of satisfying. And that is what makes it the perfect tease. After the record stops and you flip it over because you want more, you need more.

Sound Quality: What it lacks in physical presentation (More on that later.) Making Moves more than makes up for in sound quality. It’s obvious that Mad Dragon Records and The Boombox Generation took special time and care to ensure that the 7-inch was crisp, clear and possessed almost a live quality to it. The amount of distortion, static and fuzz that the band layers on are given their own space, not muddling the other to create an enjoyable sonic experience. 

Packaging: The packaging for Making Moves is relatively simple and standard for 7-inches. It comes with a sleeve, which is minimally decorative and includes a few short details. What I would have liked to have seen is an insert for the band to design album art to make their entry stand out among the other five. The record was pressed on highlighter yellow vinyl.

Extras: The record comes with a digital download code of the album with the additional track, “Other Drugs.” Again, what I would have liked to have seen included as a part of the digital download would be linear notes. However, that might be asking a little much from just a 7-inch.

Summary: Do yourself a favor: pick this up, pick this up soon and listen to it again and again and again. I promise you will not tire of either side any time soon. You can pick up the record at Interpunk.

Make Sure to Spin: “Bangs” and “Old Boy”

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Ethan Merrick

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