©Photography by Coline Gascon
Brace! Brace! return with the new EP Controlled Weirdness which mixes the best lysergic creepiness of Syd Barrett with the more straight-forward guitar jam indebted to the Indie Rock genre. We caught up with front man Thibault Picot before the all important 3rd Opinion...
Underground is based on the experiences of a failed relationship. The kind of friendship that fluctuates from euphoria to disgust. It’s also a song about people who decide to live with comfortable certainty and narrow ways of thinking. After the darker, minimalist Garage-Rock EP of 2014, we really wanted to write a Pop record without any of the constraints we used to apply to ourselves. Some reviews used the term "Bubblegum" to talk about Controlled Weirdness, I like this image of something cheeky, bouncy and plastic to describe our music.
Nothing ever happens like it should because we’re a dispersed band. We got selected for Le Printemps de Bourges, and after 2 hours on the road I realised I forgot my pedal board at home! We had to soundcheck and play quickly after, but I managed to make the round trip just on time. We’re looking forward to going on tour again, a lot of new bummers to expect!
The Paris Scene
There’s a lot of talented people and bands, the French Indie music scene has never been so exciting. It’s a very creative time for, people feel free to write without thinking about the monetary gains, mostly because there’s nothing to lose or expect anymore in France when you’re a musician. Also, there's been a rise in small DIY labels like Howlin Banana Records and Teenage Hate Records, and venues that are successfully managing to expand their audience. What's the best pub? Le Motel without any hesitations; the best music, best people, best drinks, best vomits.
Blur's Charmless Man: I grew up with all these songs. I’m amazed by the way Blury managed to do powerful mainstream hymns including eccentric arrangements.
Orval Carlos Sibelius' Good Remake: A french artist, possibly one of the most talented. This song is a summary of everything I love about songwriting; radical contrasts, harmonic superposition, instant-crush melodies, and an ethereal production.
Happyness' Anything I do is alright: A highly saturated 90’s mood song. Suddenly at the end of this naive teenage song there a fantastic and grandiose chorus. I like the idea of being into a band that leads its audience into false leads.
"There’s nothing to lose or expect anymore in France when you’re a musician" - Thibault Picot
Brace! Brace! can be defined as brilliant, mysterious, romantically tragic, eternally young or beautiful. Take your pick. It's a band who have defined their sound based on a straightforward yet subtle mix of layers. The description we're looking for is "texture and murmuring"; the kind of wandering lust found on a Blur record, per se.
The opening track Slow shows off all of these different sides of Brace! Brace! It all begins with basic Pop sensibilities, straightforward. Simple. But before long it changes, welcome the realms of fuzz, end this journey on a dreamy chorus of guitar feedback! It's not their only trick. Untidy Hair is where you appreciate Brace! Brace! for different qualities. The production value takes over. Everything that can be done to bury the melodies, vocals, and lyrics, in favour of a more Mac Demarco-esque dream-scape. They do it.
It strangely works, the vocals are just about high enough for the listener to hear them. "I hate myself but I don't give a shit I'm dreaming", sprawls Thibault. It's not French self-indulgence, it's more like a ode to life. Keep trying, we start thinking. And even though Untidy Hair sounds more like a cover song than an original, it's the single most graspable moment of the record, but still not our favourite.