The Break Mission
“It’s better if you never really know what happened there,” Break Mission vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Knowlton intones dramatically on the powerful, foreboding, minor key opener “Matter of Trust” from the band’s third full-length album. The New York-based trio, which also includes Matt Hershey (drums) and Ben Lindell (bass, keyboards), takes its cues here from terrific gloomy British pop bands like Doves and Scotland’s Snow Patrol. But it’s not all the band is about, not by a long shot.
Album standout “Above the Noise” and the acoustic-based “Fight of Our Lives” owe more to wide-eyed American bands like Death Cab for Cutie, while “Son” conjures the spectral harmony-laden modern freak folk of Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses.
A few tunes here like “Back to Normal” drift prettily without really going anywhere. Similarly, the piano ballad “Elevator Songs” meanders pleasantly like vintage Pink Floyd.
“All of Your Guns” by comparison sounds distinctly more earthbound, while “Thieves” cranks up the guitars to good effect. The pretty, acoustic finger picking of “Honestly” is a highlight as well. “Words” is simply a great driving pop song with soaring, innovatively arranged vocal harmonies and a welcome dose of good old power chords. And just when you think “Porcelain” is going to put you to sleep, the song explodes into another interesting chorus or bridge part. The record wraps up with “The Street,” another fetching acoustic number (this time with handclaps and more harmonies) that ends appropriately with an extended coda of street sounds.
Even if The Break Mission doesn’t necessarily have a distinctive sound they can call their own just yet, Alpha is still an impressive achievement. Based on this one, I’ll be more than happy to stick around for a few more records to see how these guys evolve and come into their own.
The Break Mission: www.myspace.com/thebreakmission