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Brandy Alexanders - The Brandy Alexanders

  by Adrian Janes

published: 1 / 3 / 2022

Brandy Alexanders - The Brandy Alexanders
Label: Gypsy Soul
Format: CD


Claiming to be a heady brew of psych rock, Canadian band The Brandy Alexanders’ debut dilutes the idea and turns it into something more like pop.

The Brandy Alexanders are a Canadian quintet, centred on brothers Alex (guitar, vocals) and Daniel Dick (keyboards). An album cover of two astronauts adorned with birds, butterflies and flowers suggests the kind of far-out psych-rock they aspire to, but for the most part this music plays too safe. A pounding beat, strong guitar motif and echoing vocals – elements that evoke Tame Impala – feature on two of the better tracks, ‘Anastasia’ and ‘IDK What I’m Trying To Do’. But on these, and still more the rest of the album, there remains a disappointing feeling of restraint which Kevin Parker’s far more wholehearted delight in the studio’s possibilities eschews. As a result, rather than the era of Sixties psychedelia, the melodicism and generally lightweight feel of the songs are instead suggestive of some of the pop music that preceded it, for example ‘Hey Why’d You Do It’. ‘Conventional Lie’ is even more excessively polite, like a nervous party guest in the form of a song. There are, however, some tracks with a bit more bite, such as ‘Ceiling Fan, Man’ with its relatively heavy riff and agile drumming, and the slow crunching guitar of ‘Shiram’ (though the effect of this is diluted by Alex Dick’s boyish voice). Some ground is regained by closer ‘Space Opus’. It’s distinguished by some good guitar and keyboard playing, over which are scattered sibilant vocals and skittering echo effects, once more dipping a toe or two into the realms of psych. But if Pink Floyd set the controls for the heart of the Sun, the Brandy Alexanders by contrast are domiciled on the International Space Station – beyond Earth’s atmosphere, but not its orbit. There is undeniable tunefulness in the band’s songs, and the moments when vocal harmonies or reverb are deployed make a stronger impression than Dick’s voice alone. Yet loath as I am to resort to stereotypes, the American caricature of Canadians as unfailingly well-mannered gains some credence with this record, as if the band were reluctant to disturb the studio or their listeners too much. Brandy and cream are two of the main ingredients in a Brandy Alexander, and it’s as if the passionate heat from one which sometimes comes through on this record is largely dowsed by the other.

Track Listing:-
1 Ceiling Fan Man
2 Shiram
3 IDK What I'm Trying To Do
4 Hey Why'd You Do It
5 Rear Window
6 Anastasia
7 Conventional Lie
8 Live By The Light
9 Space Opus

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