Brazil - A Hostage and the Meaning of Life (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


A Hostage and the Meaning of Life (2004)


Brazil hasn't come a long way in the 2 years since their Dasein EP. The band's formula is still the same - take all the bests parts of At The Drive-In, and dilute them with overproduced synthesizer effects. Their EP was lukewarm at best, but in that 2 year span the band has at least matured as musicians, if not artistically overall.

A Hostage and the Meaning of Life is a step up for the band as it actually warrants repeat listens. A good handful of these songs break the At The Drive-In mold slightly with well-placed piano, like the trio of "The Novemberist," "Io," and "Escape." Sure, the vocals still match Cedric Bixler inflection for inflection, but at least the music is a bit more adventurous at points.

Brazil is just struggling through an identity crisis, one that isn't helped by the production on this album. Alex Newport, the man responsible for both in/CASINO/OUT and Vaya was at the helm for this album's recording. You think he would have maybe pointed out some things like "A Hostage" being a poor man's version of Relationship Of Command opener" Arc Arsenal, or maybe just the fact that the overall vibe of the band isn't original in any sense of the word.

I don't mean to be unnecessarily harsh on the record, as there are actually some good things going on in here. The band makes good use of their piano player, and doesn't fall into the carbon copy file nearly as quickly as they did with Dasein. There's still a lot of work to be done with this band, but they're getting there.


Stream the entire album here