Braver - Stay Busy! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Stay Busy! (2012)

Short Run Records

Braver is a three-piece from Minneapolis, and this, the band's debut album, is an amalgam of a number of influences and sounds. The predominant of those would be Alkaline Trio, less so being Green Day, with moments of Descendents thrown in for good measure.

Opening with "Yea," it's the Alkaline Trio similarity that hits home both through the guitar sound and rhythm, plus the vocals do have a Matt Skiba-esque quality to them. "How the Midwest Was Won" has its moments of Descendents frantic guitar chords but is built around more Alkaline Trio style music. Before going on, this isn't just a copy of Alkaline Trio, or not to me it isn't, but there is clearly a likeness there. The difference would be that the guitar sound, in fact the whole sound of the band is a bit looser and that suits me down to the ground having never being overly enamored by the aforementioned outfit.

This is punk rock built around melody and which also features vocals that occasionally go slightly atonal. In terms of the songs both of the opening tracks above are fine indications of how good this record sounds, even when that more punk rock approach is ditched for a more relaxed style on "Nose Lotion" which manages to make me think of Sicko. "Phone Interview With Guy in Tub With Buddies" keeps that Sicko vibe going, adding in a few similarities to two other "older" bands, Sinkhole and Doc Hopper.

"Blame it on the Mold" carries more of a Green Day vibe, but from the 39/Smooth era of that band, so don't let the comparison scare you off if you find recent Green Day music not to your taste.

This is one of those records that surprises you in that it easily becomes a favorite in quite a surreptitious way, worming itself into your consciousness over the time it takes to play the album half a dozen times. This is a strong debut, displaying some very good pop-punk tunes throughout with the added bonus that it is also available free on Bandcamp.