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Direct Hit! - Brainless God (Cover Artwork)

Direct Hit!

Direct Hit!: Brainless GodBrainless God (2013)
Red Scare

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: kideconokidecono
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Setting aside the many ways to foul up a garden variety LP, there are two basic ways to royally make a mess of a concept album. For a start, you've got to have some brass balls/ovaries to attempt a musical form which, in the popular consciousness at least, still carries the stink of â??70s excess. You've got to be confident to the point of arrogance, or brave bordering on foolhardy. If you're not careful, your 'vision' will outstrip your ability, and you'll become the next Tom Delonge, peddling an overwrought record, crushed under the weight of its own bullshit. There are better examples of this phenomenon, but they don't have their own memes. Sorry, Tom!

The second pitfall only really applies to albums which go past simply sharing a broad theme (Murder Ballads), and attempt a coherent narrative throughline (Diamond Dogs, David Comes to Life). You've got to have a different set of skills to attempt storytelling of that scope, and a lot of songwriters just don't have the chops for it.

Happily, Direct Hit! have managed to neatly body-swerve both of these hazards, with some style. In the first place, Brainless God is a punk rock record in the classic sense. While the songs are by no means clipped, generally coming in at around the three-minute mark, they're extremely lean. Everything that's there is there for a reason, and with the exception of a couple of well-placed refrains and a recurring melody that holds the whole thing together, the whole album has a sense of relentless forward motion, driving forward to the literal finality of its conclusion. In short, there's no room for excess, and there's plenty of occasionally dark humour threaded through the proceedings, so it doesn't take itself too seriously, which is a boon.

As far as the storytelling goes, there is certainly an over-arching narrative line, telling of the final days of a world staring down total nuclear armageddon. That larger maxi-story is interspersed with self-contained mini-story songs, each focusing in on one or two characters and how they react to their predicament. The best examples of this are "Buried Alive" and "Home to You," about a serial killer and an escaped convict respectively.

The former is dripping with black humour, juxtaposing intrinsically unpleasant subject matter with an upbeat tempo and infectious chorus. The latter is the closest the album comes to a straight-up love song, as the narrator finds his jailers have abandoned their posts, and takes the opportunity to head home to spend his final seconds, literally, with the object of his affection.

It's this approach, examining the inevitability of death through a multitude of viewpoints, that lends Brainless God true strength, thematically as well as musically. Somehow, Direct Hit! have managed to create a collection of songs which, while they can be enjoyed in isolation, feel very much of a piece. This is a grand story bolstered by smaller, more intimate stories, provoking genuine emotion along with a wry smile, and a message which is, overall, surprisingly upbeat.

Like Monty Python before them, Direct Hit! have pointed out that we're all doomed, but that we may as well have a good time before the bell tolls. If you're looking to inject some fun into your own lifespan, you really need to get hold of Brainless God. It's as fun as contemplating your impending demise is ever likely to be.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Flatliners - CavalcadeOff With Their Heads - HomeAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsRed City Radio - TitlesIron Chic - The Constant OneDead To Me - Moscow Penny AnteThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangIron Chic - Not Like ThisAgainst Me! - As The Eternal Cowboy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Gooderson (July 6, 2014)

At risk of hyperbole, this is my favorite album of the last several years, and my favorite piece of art of any kind in quite a while. A truly special achievement.

floggingmicah (May 2, 2014)

One of the best records as a whole i've ever heard. I'm completely in love with this record.

social_t (October 16, 2013)

On the first couple of spins I liked this, but am now absolutely head-over-heels in love. This is the first album in forever that I actually CRAVE listening to on repeat!

Rich27 (September 12, 2013)

Only heard the tracks that are being streamed on the site but they are impressive. Will be purchasing the album asap. Nice review too.

blaarg (September 10, 2013)

Album of the year for sure.

fattony (September 10, 2013)

Definitely one of the best of the year! The first few listens seemed to lack that rambunctiousness found on Domesplitter. But it's still there, just masked a bit by sleeker production. Stellar album start to finish though! This, Touche Amore, and Captain, We're Sinking will be in my Top 5 for sure!

thepasswordistaco (September 10, 2013)

It's a good record but it won't kick the Mae shi's hllyh out of my top spot for best cynical revelations-themed concept album

remy_rat (September 10, 2013)

I'll be playing this record over and over. Red Scare made it again with this band!

exitenglish1208 (September 10, 2013)

absolutely incredible record. #1 of the year so far

eggface (September 10, 2013)

this is in the top 5 of this year, I can not stop listening to it...everytime I hear something new, totally on repeat.

thirtyseconds (September 10, 2013)

I like this.

drews (September 10, 2013)

Such a great record.

DesertBurst92 (September 9, 2013)

one of the best albums i've heard in a very long time.

Luc18 (September 9, 2013)

Best album of the year so far!

renaldo69 (September 9, 2013)

Fun record. Lots of fun!

aplomb (September 9, 2013)

My AOTY. Can't stop listening.

julianminutes (September 9, 2013)

this band is too good

notfeelingcreative (September 9, 2013)

I'm way late on this band. I just got domesplitter in the mail forty-five minutes ago. Ordered this through red scare. Hasn't come yet.

chrisss (September 9, 2013)

Definitely one of my favourite records so far this year! I can't stop listening to it.

lukabratzi (September 9, 2013)

One of the best things I've heard this year. Really great

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