Local Wire


The further Anticon strays from its original granola posi-artiste rap roots, the more intriguing this Oakland, California label becomes. England's Bracken represents the latest link in the imprint's evolutionary chain, though slotting We Know About the Need is something of a challenge. While it isn't really a shoegaze record in the traditional sense — attendant listeners can separate the instruments, effects, and electronics — every square inch of audio atmosphere throbs with warm, sugary goo. Bracken is the solo project of Chris Adams, who spends most of his time co-helming folktronica group Hood. What he's come up with by his lonesome strikes more pleasure points. On "Heathens," no-way-out desperation cuddles with and succumbs to a lulling, Ludibrium-esque locomotion: "We've got our backs against the wall," Adams complains in indifferent duplicate as gut-level bass and keyboard bulbs glow, then fade, around a ragtag scrum of handclaps, horns, and cymbals. "Evil Teeth," on the other hand, never allows its cogs to connect; it's an unharmonious intermission of sitars, drum kit cracks, dawning vocal vistas, and nauseous droning. Bracken's sleepy spell is one you won't want to break away from.
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Ray Cummings