For Fans Of
The Australian punk rock scene has some phenomenal acts within its intangible borders. From Bodyjar, Anchors, Fires Of Waco, A Death In The Family, The Love Junkies, and shit, even Violent Soho to an extent – the list just goes on. And of course, we must include the very subject of this review – Tassie’s Luca Brasi.
Now, while their first two albums, ‘Extended Family‘ and ‘By A Thread‘, were good offerings, this one is easily the best effort from the quartet thus far. The songs are honest and snappy, and the mix is so much larger and far crisper, and that allows the band’s authentic brand of punk rock room to breathe and expand. And ‘authentic’ is really the right word to use for this band. From the lyrics, the instrumentation and just the songs in general; it all is drenched in the sweat and blood soaked authenticity that comes from a band that has worked very hard to get to where they at are today, and that makes the fact that their upcoming tour has sold so well all the sweeter.
One thing we particularly love about the album are the rare dual vocal moments between bassist Tyler Richardson and guitarist Patrick Marshall. Much like the occasional Alkaline Trio songs, it creates a nice contrast when utilised on the same song and we wish the band would do it more. Furthermore, the group has their song-writing down pat as there are some huuuuugggge melodic hooks on this record. It’s not the same kind of catchy as an All Time Low or Blink-182 tune, but more like the “catchy” nature track from the likes of Anchors’ last record, or even from one of the earlier The Gaslight Anthem releases.
But now we come to our main caveat. This album is just like the new Tremonti release – it’s basically a one-note record. See, while this is a really solid record, and, as we said before, this is LB’s best album to date, the songs all kind of blend together after a while. Don’t get us wrong, they are still quality songs when they mesh together but there are no curveballs thrown in as the tracks come and go, meaning it can get somewhat repetitive. We guess that you could argue that it’s a consistent album (and it is) but it also feels a little safe at times. ‘Safe’ and ‘punk’ go together about as well as drug-fueled, ripped-up white dudes and Stereophonic (#neverforget), and that is to say, not that well at all. But, the band pulls through okay.
‘Aeroplane‘, ‘Spin And Collapse‘ and ‘Man, This Is Living‘ are great examples of Luca Brasi‘s usual sound; good melodic punk rock, but nothing that new for them. In fact, even a slightly older single like ‘Borders & Statelines‘ is a prime example of their sound and how it hasn’t really moved on from their last couple efforts. Shit, even the more dynamic songs like ‘Anything Near Conviction‘, ‘The Cascade Blues‘ and ‘Count Me Out‘ (perhaps the best song off the album) eventually all become a gritty, catchy and loud affair, and that’s fine as that is what the band is arguably the best at; creating those loud anthemic punk jams that you and your mates can stage dive and crowd surf to at your local youth hall. That’s all well and good, but sometimes we need a little bit more than just these catchy tunes, and that was the very same gripe this writer had with the last Anti-Flag record, mind you.
Perhaps what is most noticeable about this record is that this particular style has been done to death by pretty much each of the bands we mentioned at the very beginning of this review. Of course, that argument can be made for a lot of bands, old and new, but in an age where nothing exists in a vacuum anymore and where the demand seems to shift to international acts save for a couple of the Unified bands and small handful of others (Parkway Drive, anyone?!), the local alternative/punk scene may be in need of some weirder, more unique material to get the recognition it deserves. Just sayin’.
Despite their repetitive sound, Luca Brasi is living and breathing proof that bands from Tasmania can outshine those from the glorious mainland. If you’ve listened to The Smith Street Band far more than a normal human being should, then LB’s ‘If This Is All We’re Going To Be’ will get you through until your next fix. While we may have a few gripes with this record, the overall package is still damn good.
2. Say It Back
3. Spin And Collapse
4. Treading Water
5. The Cascade Blues
6. Drop Out
7. Overwhelmed_ III Prepared
8. Man, This Is Living
9. Anything Near Conviction
10. Count Me Out