Brandtson - Send Us A Signal (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Send Us A Signal (2004)

Militia Group

It must be hard for a band like Brandtson, mainstays of the indie rock genre that became fashionable over the past few years, passed up and left behind. They sat comfortably on their pungent discography over at Deep Elm and were neglected while their peers climbed to peak levels of popularity. The Militia Group decided to lend a hand to the troubled band and with the support of a new label they're demanding you pay attention to the sounds of Send Us A Signal.

By association via Deep Elm Brandtson will always bear a Post-It Note that reads "emo" on their backs however, it's obvious from the guitar riffs that guide the opening track into a toe-tapping rocker that they're not going to fit comfortably in one genre. The seamless fade into the gentle "Drawing A Line In The Sand" allows vocalist Myk Porter to show the attractiveness of his perfectly harmonized voice, assisted by a beautifully shaped melodic backdrop provided by a soft drum pulse and a sinuous bass beat. On "Throwing Rock Tonight" the other three members steal the show with complex and sophisticated melodies, perfectly blending an early 90's grunge tone with the appeal of modern power-pop.

Much like Jimmy Eat World took a big jump from Clairty to Bleed American by incorporating unpredictability and the appeal of a big rock sound, Brandtson follows the similar formula to success. A mellow pace to "Escapist" supported by a contagious clapping rhythm that ensures an instant live hit for a band already renowned for an exhilarating stage presence. The breakdown beats in the waning seconds of "Just Breathe" are wonderfully placed setting up the entire band for a musical explosion which continues on and infects the thunderous distortion induced "C'Mon Fascista." The recreation of the group's classic "Blindspot" continues with the theme of musical growth on the record. Even though the edge of the old version has been wiped away, the crystal clear sound on the rendition continues to illustrate how completely Brandtson has developed. Tucked deep near the end is "Margot" a power-pop bliss track jumbled with the crunch and harmony that made last years Death & Taxes a hit. The only real problem I have with the any of the twelve tracks is the closer, "The Bottle & The Sea". Instead of Porter's elegant voice there's a deep irritation that calls on Staind or Nickelback sung over continuous hum that shrieks the speakers, gaaaaaag.

It's hard to tell if Send Us A Signal will finally grant Brandtson the popularity they are entitled to, but it does help cement their credibility. There are obvious notes taken from the Get Up Kids, thanks to the appealing traces of Ed Rose, who returns once again. Despite that and the earlier comparison the assessments to Jimmy Eat World, Get Up Kids, Sense Field and their many other peers are no longer mandatory as they've garnered what it takes to be a standout in a scene that's in desperate need of a glass of water to dry its hoarse throat. Brandtson is ready for the next level, the new found diversity has sparked this band and that same variety makes this album a must have for any fan of rock music this year.