Brighton, Soul City
Brakes and Chris T-T. Concorde 2, Brighton. October 26th 2005.
Chris T-T sings songs of love and hate that beat with a heart of tarnished gold. He sings about Tony Robinson and Tony Blair, about Eminem and the last of the English trees. He sings about love and loss and movement (the key elements of all great Pop) with a natural eye for detail. He sings of political issues without appearing impossibly glum or horribly self-righteous, which is some mighty feat. Sounding every bit as fine as Johnny Dangerously in his pre-Klute days or Hank Starr from the much-missed Animals That Swim, Chris T-T understands that soul is an emotional essence and not a style choice. Chris T-T is a great soul singer.

If hearing Chris makes me feel good about songs that prick my heart and make my conscience bleed, then Brakes similarly make me delighted that somewhere inside I’m forever nineteen and endlessly invigorated by the power of music to move me; of the electric elements that animate ideas and emotions into moments of such rare brilliance that I end up chasing them through the night sky, reaching out for fairytale sparklers of white light and white heat. And if Chris is a great soul singer, then Brakes are a great soul band that just happens to sound like some monstrous hybrid you could only come up with in a manic daydream. Country born and bred boys in love with US Hardcore and an unflinching belief in the value of the Pop experience; if bands like Arctic Monkeys had a tenth this much instinctive understanding of noise-rock-melody then they’d still only be a fraction as good as the media hype tells you they are. And they’d still be a million miles away from being as great as Brakes. Brakes are the awkward, tormented beauty of Montgomery Clift crossed with the Land Speed Record roar of Husker Du. They are, quite simply, awesome, and they set my heart on fire. Brakes are a great soul band.

© 2005 Alistair Fitchett