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From a critic's point of view minimalism is really a glass half full / half empty thing:

On one hand it's hard to actually write about artists, who are grounded in a simple and very clearly defined formula. They only need to adjust their approach in little details from album to album to achieve a powerful effect and give it a distinctive vibe.

On the other hand it saves you from writing a whole novel. That's cool, too. More time for other stuff. Like working. Cursing the summer weather. Or listening to Big|Brave.

BIG|BRAVE - Vital (transparent olive LP) (2021)

So here's a new album from my favorite Canadian drone rock trio. [Insert the usual Swans/Sunn O)))/post something/no wave/punkishbjörkish female vocals description here.]

As always with this band it's fascinating how two guitars barely playing one and a half chords per song and desperately avoiding to appear too musical, drums despising groove and vocals feeling the same about the leash of melody can do this to such a degree of success, that those very ideas are almost completely turned on their own head, because it feels so big, so brave, vivid, vital, that your ears automatically assume that it all must be there in spades.

Big|Brave are just incredibly skilled at the maybe two most important aspects of music:

Pauses and sound.

The sound between their pauses has always been a crushing force, sharp and rich at the same time. It's like if you pressed your ear to a table surface, on which a circular saw blade is spinning - specifically that split-second of brutal buzzing before it comes to rest.

As always the band finds new subtle nuances within that sound. Not through inclusion of guest musicians this time, but mostly through the perfect layering of notes and frequencies within their noise. It's a you know it when you hear it thing, trust me!

And the bells. How bells are integrated into the rhythm here and there increases the dramaturgy so much!

The icing of the cake are the lyrics, in which Robin Wattie deals with very personal issues like the struggle of mixed-race identiy. I must admit though that I have to read along to understand her accent and intonation, which doesn't try to make it easy for none-native speakers. But that's ok, because the pain and the sound are so pure and raw.

I loved this band from the first minutes of seeing them live for the first time on, and every following encounter - on stage or on albums - only gave me reasons to love them more.

With "Vital" this trend continues as strong as ever. Love this band. Love this album.

Flawless cathartic awesomeness.


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