BRASS’s ‘No Soap Radio’: anthems for catharsis

no soapA year-and-a-half after Vancouver punks BRASS debuted with their self-titled EP, they finally bear their first “full-length” album. The independently released No Soap Radio is a 17-minute blitz that captures their head-on intensity.

Singer Devon Motz, drummer Rory Troughton, guitarist Tristan Milne, and bassist Zak Garret form the skull-crushing quartet. But no doubt, producer Jesse Gander (of the renowned Rain City Recorders) had a big hand in drawing out their live energy and recording it in a way that did it justice; after all, this is the same person who’s helmed heavy-hitting albums by the likes of Japandroids, Bison, and White Lung

BRASS are anything but slouches: they play often, and they play hard, every time. They’ve established such a strong bond with each other that not even geography can get in their way: that the band created most of No Soap Radio while Motz lived abroad in Australia, yet they still come off as a tightly wound destruction unit, is a testament to the four-piece’s chemistry.

Despite the fury, brevity, anxiety, self-awareness, self-deprecation, and general social malaise – most neatly wrapped up on the walk-on-coals-hot “Strut Punchin” –  BRASS cross standard punk lines. Sizzling guitar solos on “Tiny Science People” nods at an appreciation of metal. “Plane’s That Never” wails freely with a boisterous sax. The backup vocals on both songs’ choruses encourage shouting along until one’s lungs shrink to the size of dried apricots – anthemic catharsis.

The album is short, but divided into 10 tracks, there’s more than enough distinction between each song to make No Soap Radio ideal for repeated listens.

BRASS are currently touring across Canada and will play Sled Island on June 27. They’ll return for a free homecoming show at the Hindenburg on July 4, with Eric Campbell & the Dirt, Power-Buddies, the Archaics, and Invisible.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu