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Breton Other People’s Problems Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

This south London outfit has crafted a distinctive debut rich in mass-appeal potential.

Mike Diver 2012

South Londoners Breton take the DIY attitude very seriously. With music and videos controlled by the same group of likeminded individuals, and high-quality promo clips the result of fine synergy between audio and visual pursuits, they’ve done their own thing, their own way, since first surfacing with the Hemlock-released Counter Balance EP in 2010.

This debut album deserves to take them to a new height of recognition: it’s a superbly accessible set, and distinctive of design too. Not once do its makers present parallels to commercial concerns without retaining their edge; so Other People’s Problems possesses mass appeal on its own terms.

The choppy beats and confrontational video of lead single Edward the Confessor might imply that Other People’s Problems isn’t welcoming of company. But Breton haven’t erected an impenetrable wall around this collection; they’ve smashed down any defences to leave a fantastically open experience available to all.

Wood and Plastic is propulsive indie fare with spiky riffs and circling strings: think along the lines of Tom Vek remixed by first-album-era UNKLE. Governing Correctly wobbles wonkily like some accidentally left-in-the-studio Metronomy effort, albeit with punch where the Devonshire dance outfit prefer their pop; and Ghost Note is a sublime cacophony of fizzy electronics and terrace chants – the greatest Kasabian song Kasabian will never write.

But throughout, each of these comparisons slip beneath the mix just as swiftly as they emerge – Breton might construct motifs reminiscent of past rumbles from rock and electro circles, but they’re dressed in such a fashion as to stand out. The sometimes plaintive, at other times urgent vocals of Roman Rappak are the crux that fractured percussion and frenzied guitars revolve around; they are the human element that’s forever in focus, for fear that ghosts will rule these machines into an unholy mess of a racket.

At their most immediate, Breton totally remove themselves from the monochrome menace of Edward the Confessor – penultimate number Jostle is Friendly Fires with tropical sunsets shrouded by Kennington clouds, and pleasingly boisterous compared to this set’s more intimate turns. One of which closes proceedings: The Commission is a haunting curtain-down affair that lingers long after everything’s turned to silence. Do check out its superb sci-fi-themed video.

Breton possess the potential to become as recognisable to chart-following crowds as any of the aforementioned acts. Now comes the luck part – the right break, the right sync, the right soundtrack. All the ingredients are here for this lot to explode if the public gives them a spin or two.

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