BRETON - WAR ROOM STORIES (BELIEVE)
...there's too many people talking now, and making a decision is harder than before. That's why we're retreating. We're greedily returning to the past, buying vinyl, taking up knitting and joining the WI. Pitchork released a quarterly magazine you could hold in your hands. Nostalgia's the most addictive thing you've ever experienced. Poor, directionless kids left abandoned by the future we so embraced a decade ago.
We're losing the battle for the middle ground, as well. Everything is suddenly incredible or shit—it simply isn't enough to be very good anymore. That's not even the fault of the musicians. Even those subject to derision loud enough to consume their sanity are probably doing their best. It's your fault. It's my fault. It's our fault. In order to help our favourites rise to the top, we proclaim them superior to everything that's come before, restraining them with manacles marked 'genius' and unwittingly urging them to fail. But when they do, fuck them. They had their chance, right? “This next band's AWESOME.”
(They're not. They're slightly better than acceptable.)
We're so expectant that it's actually embarrassing. Alex Turner's banality at the BRIT Awards got a full article in the NME that fawned over every slurred syllable.“Yeah, rock and roll always comes back! You tell those nasty corporations paying for your records and your drinks, Alex!” While you're at it, try not to sound so threatened, too.
Breton's debut was abandoned by the public when someone high up apparently decided that Alt-J were actually the future. Breton were a little too abstract and shifting for the brostep, BEST. THING. EVER. brigade, and not experimental enough for those who mount Autechre every morning. Other People's Problems reminded us a little too much of the recession, so we backed off. It lurked in derelict buildings and gave them a family name, then receded when we tore them down. The band didn't give us everything we wanted, so we shrugged and spat and cursed and kicked.
“You quit the crucial second scene that you started with. Lost the cost to stay where they are. They say either you're out or you're in. I've found a way of walking without sound. We haven't got a school and we haven't got a name. Stay poor, spend more. Every town you've left is the same. I believe everybody has the right to surrender. I can leave just like anyone else, I'm told. How would I drag myself out from there and how would I be in two places at once? Say the wrong thing at the wrong time. You're never wasted. As soon as backs were turned, the cracks returned.”
There's movement in the grooves of this record. It's aware of its position in the world and wants no part of your mewling. It's already departed. Haunted synthesizers mix with drones and steel drums. Spoken word samples lay down with a 44-piece orchestra. Guitars vine round hip-hop beats. It's a defiant kind of pain that permeates this LP—a refusal to give up burrowed into a refusal to ignore its environment. The world isn't as good or as bad as you think it is, but there's a broken comfort to be found somewhere among the sirens and it's suddenly wonderful. The only problem is that you won't listen, because there's too many people talking now, and making a decision is harder than before. That's why we're retreating...