Brick Briscoe 2020
Thinking up movies that may never happen, American auteur delivers a soundtrack for tragicomic era.
There’s a lot of things Brick Briscoe can do in the field of thought-provoking arts, aural and visual alike; and there’s a lot of things the polymath hasn’t been able to do now when his restlessness has been hobbled due to lockdown and related plagues. Homebound but not prone to self-pity, BB actually found the situation liberating in terms of creativity and let melodic juices flow and reflect ideas for films which he, formerly a director, could make. The result is an album that harks back to the veteran’s sojourn in LA yet goes much further and deeper, to the very core of one’s romantic and sarcastic psyche.
Of course, the aggressive finale “Let’s Get Sick” may seem to be the most cinematic piece on offer, full of effervescent riffs and high on heavy groove – all shaped by punk-playing Brick and spiced up by soulful backing – yet the number’s infectious chorus will provide a perfect link back to the slick opener “Cody Jarrett” where Briscoe’s vocals smear erotica over spaced-up electronica-tinctured landscape. Still, the cosmic folk ballad “Woke Up Beside You” and the lazily insistent shoegaze of “The Party Line” pack a mightier punch, as BB’s vulnerable voice and strum sound so desperate, although it’s the record’s title track that’s the brightest – despite the cut’s piano-punctured nocturnal glistening – display of his singer-songwriter skills. Possessed with rock, this artist allows “Oxnard” bump and grind in the glimmer of wailing guitars and romantic light of snippets in Russian which bookend it, only to let “What’s Your Name?” emerge, later on, from the minimal arrangement and become rather robust outpouring of emotions, before the brass-splashed “Crimey” is laced with elastic jazz lines.
So no, Brick Briscoe’s not “walking cliché” as he puts it, and what he’s done “My Americana Lust” to turn personal philosophy into a lush, multifaceted tapestry – an aural film, in fact – should defy any label one would place on this artist. The listener’s not obliged to visit his favorite haunts, but they’re to be haunted by his music and words.