It's been a few years since I received what I believe to be the
first Paul Brill CD and gave it a glowing review. On his
first couple outings, Brill championed what could best be described
as a blending of folksy Americana with electronica. His releases
since then have been more varied in sound, moving towards a much
more mainstream-indie (if that's possible) sound. The interim
albums have been mostly nice little pieces of pop music, but have
not struck me as something to necessarily write home about.
All that changes on Breezy. Brill has totally abandoned
any hint of Americana, instead turning his more-than-capable hands
towards making some of the finest indie pop that's been released
in the past few years. To be bold, Breezy could be considered
the year 2012's Pet Sounds. Bold, I know; but more than
fairly accurate. The songs all have a breezy (get it?) feeling
to them, light-hearted chords and singalong choruses while the
tracks all have varied and interesting instrumentation that adds
to the celebratory feel of the entire song set. Most of the songs
here tend to be stompy, energetic numbers that cause the foot
to tap and the body to swing, but there are a few more down-tempo
moments to balance things out a bit. Regardless of the attitude
of the song in question, nothing on the album clocks in at more
than four minutes, and most come in under the 3-minute mark. There's
no time to get bored with these songs.
Things begin with the sound of a gaggle of girls laughing before
things launch into a very Beck-ish, L.A. style groove;
high energy and bleeping electronics above a coolly vibey and
lo-fi drumbeat make "Sunny Guy" the perfect kick off
for the album. Some electronic-flashed steel drums take over the
rhythmic vibe on "Kissing Cousins" and Brill expounds
on the virtues of fighting zombies on "The Royal Oui."
Some gritty guitars and throbbing bass make "Debussy Roses"
groove before the slower, more atmostpheric and bouncy "Last
W&T." The songs all pop and breeze and the reprise at
the end of the record ties things together nicely from the beginning.
The album has a loose story arc, but there's barely time to catch
it, as the songs go by so quickly and are so much fun to listen
to that the brain doesn't need to listen for anything deeper than
the good times that are evident.
This might be a collection of breezy, summertime music but there
is a depth and maturity to the songs that makes the comparison
to Pet Sounds even more distinct. The songs seem light
hearted and easy until the ear gives a little closer listen; the
deeper stories start to stand out and create brilliant stories
of gallant and tragic characters. But if you don't spend the time
to get that deep into the songs, then Breezy is, at the
very least, a fantastic collection of sing-along-able songs that
you can enjoy listening to all year long. And when you do, roll
down the windows and let the decibels go forth with loudness and
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