Single Crown Postcard
Recordhead & Mr. Whiggs
Although Brando — in essence, Derek Richey and a loose coalition of associates — have been around for about ten years, they haven’t come of age until the last couple of years, and with this last album, they finally signal their broadened relevance and brilliance. Singing in a voice reminiscent of Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus, Richey is no mere copyist of the ’90s indie lo-fi heroes, carving out his own position in that particular landscape, filled with lush melodies and floating sentiments. The rich lyrical imagery tells quirky, captivating tales that pulls the listener in while still rendering interpretation seemingly impossible as well as superfluous. The absolutely lovely, quietly drifting melody of “Judy Garland” sounds a bit like fellow freak-popsters I Am Kloot, while “Carbon Copies” is a fantastic, shimmering piece of subdued hooks. In a way, the album is completely self-effacing — as with “Paul Revere,” say, where even the grand epic is delivered in-between held-back breaths of instrumental outbursts — yet it is strangely and explicitly absorbing once you get past the mere modesty of the enterprise. It does require a couple of listens before it finally gets to you but, with the exception of one song — the stop/start white soul-pastiche that is “By And By” — the album proves to be a stunning collection of songs from a band that’s finally found its unique and particular voice.