Breton: Other People’s Problems Review

Creating music and film from bretonLABS, Breton are doing their utmost to develop a mystique around themselves as well as their musical output.

With a number of videos on their YouTube channel tracking the band’s journey that culminated in them recording Other People’s Problems at Sundlaugin Studio, home of Sigur Ros, Breton’s self-generated hype isn’t hurting their image one bit.

And a gushing Guardian review last year lauding them as a “multimedia Massive Attack” can only help their reputation as group of young, exciting and artistic all-rounder’s.

Other People’s Problems opening track gets things off on the right foot, with Pacemaker opening like a Flying Lotus beat; cold, heavy and clinical. Having set the theme for the album in the first forty five seconds, vocals are swiftly introduced to tone things down a bit.

Breton largely make electronic music while still managing to sound like a traditional band, and Pacemaker’s deceptive early trip-hop/beats section is quickly reigned in to a much more recognisable sound.

Current single and standout track Edward The Confessor is a particular highlight. And, while not wishing to dwell too much on something outside the actual record, it’s no surprise their video for this is tense and furious, coming across like an English council block remake of Justice’s Stress, both visually and sonically.

After all, Breton are video artists.

Ultimately, however, things don’t quite maintain the high point of Other People’s Problems first three tracks. 2 Years is a fairly interesting dub-step tinged effort, with some ghostly female backing vocals, yet Wood And Plastic and Governing Correctly are both run of the mill phone-ins; while the chanted refrain on Interference is positively Hard Fi-esque.

And no, that’s not a compliment.

Breton pick up the pace again with the buzzing electronica beat of Oxides but, honestly, the damage has already been done. At times this collective of multimedia creatives fusion of genres is excellent, synthesising a work not unlike an angry and slightly angst infused XX album. At others, it’s a little like listening to underground music for people who watch Skins.

While there’s a huge amount to salvage from a very solid debut, I can’t help but feel Breton have made things difficult for themselves by deliberately inflating their own hype, and that their image as secretive but brilliant mad scientists of art and music is somewhat punctured by Other People’s Problems.

Of course, they can’t be blamed for trying. After all, it worked beautifully for Wu Lyf. Perhaps their carefully cultivated mystique and strangely punctuated video titles will carry them further than this slightly better than average first album.

Steven Garrard

One Response to “Breton: Other People’s Problems Review”
  1. avatar Sam T says:

    flying lotus beats are cold, heavy and clinical? if anything they are the absolute opposite; warm, delicate and organic.

Leave A Comment

Dates ‘n stuff

March 2012