Following the success of their debut Part 2 last September, post-punk super-group Brix & The Extricated have just released their new album Breaking State. Having relentlessly toured and performed at numerous festivals over the last year, they’ve now returned with this latest release – pushing sonic boundaries, showcasing their vast artistic intentions and front-woman Brix Smith-Start’s incredible songwriting talent.
An eclectic collection of sounds, Breaking State is introduced to our ears by the sweeping, discordant strings (arranged by Sarah Brandwood-Spencer) and eerie power of opening track ‘Alaska’. As the thunderous bass lines of Steve Hanley kick in, pounding beats provide the backdrop to Smith-Start’s distinctive soaring drawl, which captivates with its immense, ferocious power. Continuing in the same vein, ‘HC’ and ‘Dog Face’ provide perfect blasts of post-punk power, with swirling Fall-reminiscent guitars and spiky bass, alongside gritty vocals and an immediate, frenetic energy.
Combining catchy surf-rock hooks with a raw vocal delivery, lead single ‘Prime Numbers’ “… is about about sacred geometry and mathematics as the language of the universe. Non physical consciousness and chaos magic…”, before we’re greeted by an interlude from the punk-driven force in the two following tracks which signal a slight change in tone. With a sweeping musicality, ‘Heavy Skies’ interweaves layers of strings, guitars and a steady pulse, flowing with twinkling emotion-strewn melodies as it builds to a luscious cinematic soundscape. Likewise, ‘Vanity’ continues with a sparkling splendour, exuding a unique emotive majesty, proving that Smith-Start is certainly no one trick pony.
Reviving a classic punk energy and seething passion, tracks such as ‘Sleazebag’ – confronting all those sleazebags in the industry that we’re unfortunately so familiar with -, ‘Going Strong’ and ‘Heavy Crown’ blast out with an in-your-face power and empowering spirit, propelled by Hanley’s trademark immense basslines and Smith-Start’s gritty, snarling vocals.
Closing the album is perhaps the most poignant offering of the lot. Juxtaposing a romanticism of musicality with a forthright bold lyricism – “I will never give up, I will never back down…” -, it’s an utterly empowering end to a fantastic collection from a totally inspirational woman. Oozing a refreshingly raw, honest emotion, it’s a perfectly epic ballad to end the album – a motivational anthem that’ll have you singing along as you get up, ready to face the world, whatever it may throw at you.
Oozing a fresh energy, Breaking State marks Brix Smith-Start out as an artist willing to move with the times and develop her sound. Whilst retaining her reputation as a somewhat legendary musician, as well as a strong female presence in the industry, it’s refreshing to hear that she’s still coming up with new ideas and even drawing influence from some of the exciting young bands around at the moment. A perfect melting pot of genres and inspirations – from riotous punk, to classic rock ‘n’ roll’, and twinkling pop to fresh post-punk -, Breaking State is a simply epic creation, proving that Brix & The Extricated are well and truly back, and cannot be missed.
Breaking State is out now. Catch Brix & The Extricated live at the following dates:
3rd November – Leicester, The Cookie
4th November – Bedford, Esquires
10th November – Hull, The Adelphi
11th November – Liverpool, The Loft Arts Club
16th November – Oxford, The Bullingdon (The Bully)
17th-18th November – Butlins’s, Minehead Shiiiine On Weekender
25th November – Norwich Arts Centre
Photo Credit: Krista Lynch