Bracket - Requiem (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Requiem (2006)


After close to 15 years of being a band, Bracket has finally made the record they truly always wanted to make. Always letting the tinges of pop permeate to the surface of their playful punk tunes, now with Requiem, the California quartet has firmly embraced that side of their music, and let it take over the creative process in a manner not before seen on their records.

You see, Bracket likes the Beach Boys. A lot. Those falsettos and multi-part vocal harmonies that were responsible for such hits as "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Sloop John B" are heavily incorporated into this album. The songs are not copies or retreads, however, just products of heavy influence from one of the greatest bands of all time. No harm in that. At the core, Bracket still remain a punk band, true to their roots. The riffs still have a fair amount of bite and the lyrics still deal with inner turmoil, as well as the pop-punk standard of relationships gone awry.

The lyrics aren't really the charm here, though, it's the vocals. They're positively infectious. Not in the usual pop-punk sort of way, however, but just in how well the members of this band can make all of their vocals sound together. There's plenty of variety, too, not only in vocals, but just the entire presentation. "Warren's Song Pt. 26" (every song is titled 'Warren's Song Pt.' and then an arbitrary, out of order number) is a whimsical blast right out of 1966. Vocalist Marty Gregori's voice has that timeless sound no matter the speed or power of the music behind him. Four-chord punk, violins, or lazy surf rock guitar, the entire picture is painted beautifully each and every time. "Warren's Song Pt. 18" shows the band speeding up a bit and really letting the chord progressions speak for them.

What's more is how well they're able to transfer between styles as the album progresses.

It's extremely fluid, and hell, it has to be for this record. Seventeen songs, fifty minutes, they have to be able to entirely grab your attention or listening to the record is going to be a chore. Luckily, not an issue. There's enough of a balance and enough sense of cohesiveness to allow Requiem to be an absolutely perfect summer soundtrack. It's refreshing to see a band that after so long, has finally found themselves comfortable in their own shoes, comfortable enough to let their influences shine through without compromising the integrity of their own unique sound.

Some bands waste no time, and make their best record right away, leaving none of their talents or surprises to the imagination. Bracket are more akin to a good rum. Sure, it's rum, and it'll taste alright regardless, but give it 15 years to age in that oak barrel, and once it's finally released, you'll be extremely glad you had the patience to wait.