Music Reviews

Bricolage Bricolage

(Creeping Bent) Rating - 3/10

Bricolage does not want to listen to your whining. Come to them with tales of girl or boy trouble and prepare to be met with unsympathetic eyes, shrugs, and various versions of the phrases “So what?” and “I told you so.” Often, there’s something refreshingly blunt about them, and it’s a departure from the nice-guy post-punk to which we’ve grown accustomed. That’s the attitude. Now, the music. For a group with such an academic name, Bricolage – on their self-titled debut – comes off as a C-student of a band. The first few bars of the album features the guitarist banging away at a purposefully out-of-tune D chord, hammering the band into its Glasgow pop niche. As the album wears on, the lack of originality only becomes clearer, and the underachieving Bricolage exposes the subtle but important difference between unpretentiousness and laziness.

It’s not all bad. Footsteps – the clear highlight of the record – is a hilariously pitiless, Caribbean-flavored romp about a friend chasing a girl who’s way out of his league. The lyrics sound like they’re lifted out of a scene from a reverse-Judd Apatow film, an anti-bromance in which Seth Rogen tells sad sap Paul Rudd that there’s no way he’s going to bed Katherine Heigl. “She will never succumb to someone as ordinary as you,” he says sadistically, in a chorus that makes most “demotivational” posters sound comparatively optimistic.

Altogether different problems face The Waltzers, which kicks off with a mindless, two-note riff that’s so monotonous many people won’t listen long enough to notice the comic story-song of a sixteen-year-old’s sexual incompetence (“Just lie back and think of Scotland!”). Also strange is the fact that the singer delivers the funniest line so slowly that it loses almost all of its punch. Given the fact that, for musical humor to work, people need to understand the words, there’s a self-defeating sense of timing at work here.

One of the several token ballads, Plots are for Cemeteries, is cursed with both the most intriguing title and the most disappointing opening instrumental passage on the entire disc. The song only picks up when the vocalists enter with a Mai Tai of harmonies.

The theme of nostalgia – which the first track, Bayonets, introduces with the line “Remember when we were young?” – dominates not only the lyrics but the sound as well. Their vocal polyphony, a pervading element of the majority of these songs, evokes both the sunny and melancholy sides of the band and may tap into the current interest in harmonized singing epitomized by Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear, although it’s hard to imagine those bands singing anything as dated as Bricolage’s “Shoo, shoo, shoo, whoa-o!” With the references to Broadway musical clichés (“Life is a cabaret”), layers of surf guitar and tight harmonies that could have been sung by boy bands in the early sixties, Bricolage is as a sometimes fun but mostly ambitionless and unnecessary project.