The Braces - First World Problems (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Braces

First World Problems (2011)


Another free self-released "record." Modern technology has a lot to answer for as it is so easy for bands to release almost everything themselves these days, unleashing their music on an unsuspecting public. However, what does get lost in this process is any element of quality control, so it can always be a bit daunting to pick something up that might not have been filtered in this way.

That being said, the Braces manage to be one of the prime examples of why the modern approach to producing and releasing music can sometimes throw up something that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

From the pictures of the band on their Facebook page, these kids are young, and really, you'd be hard pushed to imagine them coming out with even one song that could stop you dead like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car. Well, they do, and it's not only the one song. Across the EP they display a maturity in writing that seems beyond their youth, as they somehow manage to come across as a slightly seasoned band rather than being four lads banging around in a garage, which is how they look.

Opening strongly with "Inspired by True Events", they identify the perils and pitfalls of a touring band whilst also acknowledging the highs to offset those lows. The line "you gotta play a show to two pairs of disapproving eyes" really does give you an idea of how hard it must be sometimes to actually engage with some people, especially when a crowd is almost non-existent and has little interest in what you're doing.

Following this by "We Will Always Be Scoundrels", the pace is unrelenting, again with lyrics that are well-written without having any clumsiness. "I Wanna Be a Corellian Smuggler" is a great title for a good song, and then the half-a-minute track "Cool Story Bro" is succinct and to the point.

"Mouthbreather" is the third best track on the album, followed with no messing around by "Hanging", which is only bettered by the opening track that is stuck firmly in my brain at the moment. This is a consistent record with not a dud amongst the tracks.

Musically, this is fast-paced melodic punk that hints at A Wilhelm Scream and Strung Out at times without really aping either of those bands. The sound is quite ballsy yet clean at the same time, which makes it feel as fresh as the band looks.

There is only one annoying thing about this release: Zack Sekuler's voice really reminds me of someone else, and even after a dozen listens I can't think of that person's name.

There is a song by Capital called "On a Mission" about still wanting to find out about bands that hit the mark, and for me the Braces do that and show promise for more to come.