As 2014 saw the rise of a large number of british bands, with it not even reaching half way through the year and already we can expect pretty much the massive turnaround when it comes to the brits in the rock music scene. Can we get Brawlers in on this with their new record? I truly believe so. These guys are impending from all directions when it comes to their debut release ‘The Romantic Errors of Our Youth’ via Alcopop! Records. Drinking advice. Someone by the name of Annabel and a short throwback to our high school days with the quintessential essence of punk that we love. Aren’t we glad to have that all back?
You know those albums which you connect with straight away? The ones that are sort of like a diary of your life without knowing anything about you? Well this is one of them. Kicking off with ‘Annabel’ the track gives a knock to the stomach where we sort of forget this is a debut but more so an opening for other treats yet to come just like when you go to a show and the support bands and the main act are more than expected. ‘We made this record so we won’t waste your time’- far from it if the tracks continue with this level of engagement. With music, there is always room for differentiation and Brawlers are certainly leading the way. In length, it is 1:47 which leaves us engaged from the start which is always best. ‘I still love you Annabel’. Who is Annabel?
Sticking to the theme of school, ‘Drink and Dial’ emits a strong scene of those rebellious teen parties that we admittedly wish we were a part of, especially ones from the movies. A perfect fit for the ‘just started uni! #freshers’ tweets that were circulating amongst the ever so nervous teens during results day. A pure sense of what we enjoy when it comes to the hybrid of rock and punk. ‘Don’t drink and dial, in fact don’t dial unless you mean it’.
You’ve heard it here guys, just don’t do it. A quirky use between the riffs of the guitar against the assertive lyrics which paints a scene of late night equalling possibly not the best decisions. Going home? Maybe that’s the best decision. Followed by ‘Holding Back’ which sets us in the summer of 2004 via a flicker of Polaroid photos. Grainy, self-developed edits. This is where Brawlers show the mixture of pop punk and rock when it reaches around the 1:26 mark. Let this settle in ‘You’re holding back’. If that’s not enough explanation, we don’t know what is.
What sets this album apart from others in the genre is that it is somewhat relatable to the average person. ‘High Again’ allows the listener to think through situations like these and think, when something I can relate to is in the form of lyrics, I know I’m not the only one. Not uncommon. It’s like ‘Yes, I’ve been there’. I know all too well’ (not personally). ‘Lying on my back while you’re playing with your mac and I’m not going anywhere fast’. A day-to-day occurrence for us all. This is one quality that this band possesses; being able to create an image in the mind of the listener to the extent in which we are reading the lyrics out of our diaries or in this day and age, blogs.
‘No Rest’ allows for a more pop side to the album along with bringing it back to the initial theme of the relationship but not like what you’d think. The ending of the track shows the ‘let go and be free’ side of the album, with luck having to be on their side. Who said romance is all about flowers and candles? How about throwing in a mix of rock for a change? Possibly that’s where we’re going wrong. Setting the previous tracks from being a mixture of emotions is ‘Two Minutes’ bringing a fixed feeling of pressure with the countdown. It’s as if you’re on a new ITV dating show, not much time until a verdict has to be made. Love at first sight? Maybe not, sadly. ‘Windowmissor’ takes a similar approach with the reflection of a previous relationship. A pretty optimistic response though this time around with ‘another will open up someday and rescue me’.
Contemplating the harsh reality of life does mean change and a new you. Yet again, with ‘Nervous breakdown’ the lyrics are relatable and like ‘Drink and Drive’ the message is one that can be applied to life in general rather than just another track on the album. Nobody waits for these things but when they do happen, it’s always best to know what to do. ‘I’m having a nervous breakdown. Don’t panic when I’m not around’ vocalist Harry Johns admits with the angst projection of the lyrics ‘this is not what I’m waiting for’ towards the end of the track.
The narrative through each track interlinks as ‘Medicine’ fits in with the events of the previous tracks. ‘You’re all partied out’. It’s the sudden realisation of past events, knowing that mistakes were made; bringing the album to an end with ‘Romantic Errors’. A bold look back at the past, ready to leave it all behind and start a new chapter, which Brawlers have depicted through their debut album; honesty is the best policy when it comes to these guys. The thinking process throughout our lives is always the hardest. With mistakes made, it is easier not to try to make them again.
With the ep ‘I Am a Worthless Piece Of Sh*t’, their latest release shows a leap into the world of Brawlers by which there will be honesty, change and reflection. There was room to grow and that’s what they’ve done. This is a strong contender for albums to come over the coming months. Nothing unoriginal about this whatsoever, definitely sets them apart from the typical categorisation of the everyday rock band.