The Braces - Yeah Right! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Braces

Yeah Right! (2007)


Straight outta Thousand Oaks, California (the same scene that gave birth to Drive Thru semi-heroes Halifax) come the Braces, a four-piece sloppy'n'snotty pop-punk band reminiscent of some of the last throes of Epitaph's pop-punk/skate-punk days.

In fact, toss an assortment of some of the lesser celebrated Punk-O-Rama samplings from types like Union 13, Bombshell Rocks, Heideroosjes, and Osker into a vat of power chords, wailing harmonies, punchy skate-punk rhythms, and adolescent vocals and the resulting vapors will conjure into the Braces. While the band spends a little excess time messing around with dreary, downtempo intros in songs like "Disappear" and "Retard," by the time they hit the snapping (and occasionally bouncing) verses, the Braces establish themselves along the line of their self-described influences like Lagwagon with maybe a bit more of a Boy Kicks Girl flair.

The tracks that eschew the slow starts of the aforementioned bode more fairly well overall, such as the album opener "Unfinished," which screams by in a mere minute and ten seconds. "Totalitarian" leans more heavily on melody than vigor at first, but then explodes forward while lead vocalist Zack Sekular shouts "Go away! You can't stay for long / We have your right to say whatever we want." At their best, the Braces evoke melodic parallels to the Gamits, especially since Sekular's tonal qualities are reminiscent of the latter's only constant in vocalist Chris Fogal. At their worst, the juvenile joke song "Dr. Phil" with its lyrics of "Dr. Phil why don't you go back fucking south/Dr. Phil, I know I'm still confused / And I'm so abused / Dr. Phil, I'm still fucked up enough to say, ‘Fuck you'" doesn't fit with the overall tone the band creates with their melodies, and to a lesser extent, their lyrics (which still need plenty of work).

But even if they do still have some maturing to do as a band, the youngsters that make up the Braces have taken an admirable route in following a path paved by bands that hit their peak over a decade ago, and have seemingly learned a thing or two from those bands along the way.