Them Bruins: God Bless Them Bruins
- Something funny happened to me on the way to this review. Them Bruins are another bright spark in the dying embers of the garage craze (although there are so many of them it is possible the stories of that demise – seeded, optimistically, by myself – have been exaggerated).
Their punchy but tuneful craziness recalls the brattiness of those shocking youth Supergrass all the way back in the mid-90s. Hmm, maybe Future Of The Left, too. In line with those 90s sounds which – you may have noticed – are clawing their way back into our ears again, Them Bruins bring a really gutsy power, just plain heaviness. It’s kinda the X-factor in their sound: all that melodicism smacked on to all that thunder, like an MX missile tipped with a tasty treat. The more I think about that analogy the less fun it sounds, but Them Bruins are the real deal. Ever since we got their first single Shock Rockets, I’ve been very keen to hear this debut EP of theirs.
Here’s the bit that’s funny. We got sent that EP a week or so ago and I enjoyed it exactly as much as I thought I would: a lot. Those guys know how to lay down an urgently infectious riff, and how! That ripping heaviness too, it’s a kind of distorted power that quite a few garage bands manage to pull off live – King Gizzard, Drunk Mums, yep – but very few seem willing or able to lay down on record. DZ Deathrays kinda do it and Them Bruins do it too. However, a couple of days later I got an urgent email from their PR folks begging us to remove all the tracks from our library – something had gone horribly wrong in the mastering / pressing / mailing / whatever and new copies were even now on their way to us. A nagging sensation started to tickle the back of my brain.
This morning I laid hands on that new version and sat down to listen to the two side by side. My suspicions were confirmed: The original (incorrect) version is much louder, which is no thang, I guess, but it also peaks much more frequently into delicious, crunchy distortion. The new one, though by no means a shy retiring violet – is just that bit better mannered than its predecessor and, that to me... it’s an opportunity missed, dang it all. Let’s be clear about this, I really like this EP, no reservations: Them Bruins bring sweet tunes and blistering heat. All I’m saying is, the more they turn up that heat, the better I like it.
- Chris Cobcroft.