Mt. Chimarea is a fitting name for Brasstronaut’s debut album. Just like the mythical creature made up of parts of different animals, the band’s sound floats between experimental jazz, electronica and pop sounds. Using a wide array of instruments such as the trumpet, lap steel guitar, flugelhorn and the seldom-heard EWI (a breath controlled synthesizer), Brasstronaut have made a haunting and rich album.
‘Hearts Trompet’ starts with a simple bass before building into a wall of strings that is simply beautiful. ‘Insects’ is a more jazzy number that lazily bounces around before letting the horns loose to fill the room. ‘Ravan’, one of the highlights of the album, perfectly fuses the horns, bass and drums with moody vocals to create a moving and enchanting piece of music. ‘Six Toes’, having a New Orleans-style jazz sound, is another track where the band shows their talent in crafting complex arrangements and skill with each instrument they use. ‘Slow Knots’, which is my personal favorite track on the album, starts of with the lyrics ‘Do you think that I betrayed you, Honey don’t you I’m too dumb for that / you kept a list of all those bad nights/we both know it got to long’. The track uses a subtle drum beat and bass to build the track until it kicks in and melds the vocals, keyboard and horns into a sublime echo filled lament on love lost.
The band has built credibility on the road, having played with bands from Belle Orchestre to Why?, and in international festivals like Reykjavik’s Iceland Airwaves ‘09, where they appeared on-stage with the brass section from Sigur Ros. They sure have my attention and I can’t wait to see where they go in the future. Brasstronaut, the Vancouver based six-piece, pride themselves on being unclassifiable. Fortunately for us, they have crafted a perfectly accessibly album that is fresh and exciting to hear. Surely a top album of 2010, this is a must buy for any real music fan and highly recommended.