Set and Drift

Thirty years ago this would be a concept album. Today it’s a study in conceptual linked musical expression based on common metrical structure. That’s an arty way of saying “full bodied” or “pompous” in the style of Yes or ELP. Brass makes big music with lumbering choruses of chords, odd time signatures, and minimal yet cryptic lyrics. We open with “Autumn Hex Signs,” which seems concerned with a homeless man and eventually travel to “Sea Breathing” with a possible suicide and ultimately “Tall Ships” which might be about a ship wreck. All that is just speculation, the lyrics are intentionally obscure yet prominently sung. Brass seems more interested in using the urgency of singer Joe Webber’s proficient voice as a musical instrument rather than a soap box for change. Backing him are equally urgent guitars by Jason Bucci and even more urgent drumming by Ian Murray. This band sounds like it’s headed somewhere, and you better jump on board or get out of the way. Brass has a good sound, and gets you on the edge of your seat even if you’re not sure why. They need to clue us on exactly what their “concept” is, but I thoroughly enjoyed this revisited study of progressive rock.


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