By Alex HudsonBrasstronaut's previous album, 2010's Mount Chimaera, earned the band the ECHO Songwriting Prize and a nomination for the Polaris Music Prize, plus a host of followers across the country (who forked out over $15,000 as part of a successful Indiegogo campaign to fund the release of the follow-up). Rather than attempt to recreate their successful debut, the Vancouver, BC six-piece shift gears on Mean Sun, forgoing jazzy piano and dense percussion in favour of pillow-y synths and expansively layered ambience. The risky move pays off with their best material to date. The dirge-like title track marries queasy synth swells with an effectively dead-eyed vocal delivery, while "Moonwalker" (fronted by guitarist Tariq Hussain) lives up to its title with a cosmic swirl of echoed singing and back-masked electronics. Nothing is immediately catchy, and it's difficult to imagine the hiccupping 7/4 rhythms of "Fossil" or the faux-medieval flute of "Revelstoke Dam" finding a place on radio. Despite the lack of pop-friendly tunes, the album's laid-back vibes take hold with repeat listens. If Brasstronaut's fans are willing to go along for the ride, Mean Sun will reward the patient.
Read an interview with the Brasstronaut here. (Unfamiliar)