Other People's Problems
If someone told you that English electro-pop gloom rockers Breton (named after the French father of Surrealism André Breton, not to be confused with the delicious crackers) were just now getting around to releasing their full length debut LP, you might be surprised. Since releasing their first EP in 2010, the London-based group has been steady at work. Now a full 5-piece band, Breton put all those pieces in motion and more on Other People’s Problems, out on Fat Cat Records. With assistance in the form of outsourced-then-chopped-and-rearranged piano and strings by German composer and fellow label mate Hauschka, Breton has served up 11 tracks full of sonic depth, intermittent intentional noise, and awkward dancing potential.
The record launches listeners into the interesting style of the band on the song “Pacemaker,” wherein beneath a deliberate pause lasting almost 15 seconds fades in the Frankenstein’d strings and low-key dance beat that populate much of the record. Breton frontman Roman Rappak’s layered vocals and distorted lyrics make the strings sound creepier than they might otherwise, with tracks like “Oxides” and “Edward the Confessor” carrying on this audio imitation of the cloudy skies in London, the video for the latter doing so quite literally.
The stand-out songs on the record have to be “Governing Correctly” and “Ghost Note,” both of which make use of multiple layers to bring out a blend of British alt dance rock like Bloc Party and the smooth style of a Mystery Jets mellow number. The low bass line on “Governing Correctly” works well with the toe-tapping digital drumbeat, and the bouncy vocals nearly disguise the melodrama in the lyrics. “Ghost Note” brings a more synth-style, combined with muffled vocals, a Daft Punk-esque sustain breakdown and the ever-so-slight hint of a triangle in the background.
For people who have always wanted a bit more Crystal Method in their Editors, the experience that is Breton’s debut record will not disappoint. There is something for everyone on Other People’s Problems, and with each new listen you may pick up nuances that were missed the first time around. It’s the LP that keeps on giving, and that sounds like a pretty good problem to have.
Written by Noel Clark, Radio K and Culture Queue volunteer