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943 Recluse

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Album Review

When you hail from the Midwest, write pop songs full of melodic and lyric quirks, and intermittently take off into flights of lo-fi basement psychedelia, it's hard to avoid comparisons to Dayton, OH's favorite '60s-smitten sons, Guided by Voices. Infrequently does it follow that you actually deserve to be included in such esteemed company. Brando, however, is one of the few such deserving bands, having, over the course of a decade and five indie label releases, worked its way into the headiest pop atmosphere. The sixth release from the combo, 943 Recluse, noticeably scales back on some of the sonic complexities of Single Crown Postcard and Headless Horseman Is a Preacher. Leader Derek Richey intentionally set out to record music that recalled the stripped-down four-track recordings of the band's early days. No doubt the sound is rawer and starker; but the more elemental approach could never conceal a set of melodies as scintillating as the ones Richey wrote for the occasion. And songs like the swooning "Abby Laine," with its three-note guitar line, the buoyant, hazy "Natural Is Natural," rocking "Seine to the Rhine," unnervingly surreal "The Verse Begins to Float," and the Shudder to Think-like art rock of "Seamstress at Night" are as fantastic as any Brando has recorded, with another half-dozen trailing not far behind. A few of the tunes fall flat — with 18 tracks (two of them hidden), that's to be expected — but on the whole, this is among the band's strongest efforts.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Formed in 1991 in Bloomington, IN, around the trio of vocalist/guitaristDerek Richey, guitarist Nathan Bryant, drummer Dan Solero, and a revolving cadre of bassists, Brando would go on to become one of the more prolific bands to emerge out of their basements with a series of increasingly accomplished four-track recordings. Having ingested all of the expected seminal influences like the Pixies, Pavement, Slint, and Sebadoh, the band set out to follow their own unique vision of lo-fi indie rock. ...
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