ALBUM: Brix & The Extricated – ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’

Known as the Super Blood Wolf Moon, this rare celestial event occurs when the first full Moon in a calendar year is at its closest approach to Earth, during a total lunar eclipse; a collision of the Super Moon, the Blood Moon and the Wolf Moon.

Just like the moonscape that inspired its name, the soundscape of Brix & the Extricated‘s latest LP Super Blood Wolf Moon is a collision of raucous post-punk hooks, infectious progressive rock riffs, and euphoric melodies that honour and transcend the historical output of the band’s founders: vocalist/guitarist Brix Smith Start and bassist Steve Hanley, ex-members of The Fall.

Super Blood Wolf Moon is the third record from Brix & the Extricated – following their 2017 debut, Part 2, and 2018’s sophomore release, Breaking State. Opening with ‘Strange Times’, a gentle, shimmering guitar ballad of global despair that musically recalls Brix’s earlier indie pop band, The Adult Net, it continues with ‘Hustler’ – a different beast altogether. The Fall-esque second track combines the musicality of Brix, Steve, and his brother, drummer Paul Hanley’s, ’80s output – referred to lovingly as the “Brix Smith years” – with lyrical elements of unforgiving brutality: “I know, you know / I know, you know / You’re just a two-bit hustler / It’s coming back to crush ya!”

‘Wolves’ is the defining track of Super Blood Wolf Moon; reflecting on pack mentality and driven by the Hanley brothers’ driving basslines, drum beats and the triple cascading guitar collision of Brix, Steve Trafford (also ex-The Fall) and Jason Brown: “I run with wolves and sleep beneath the stars / The clothes I wear is just to hide the scars / The cross I bear is etched into my skin / I run with wolves, they’re my next of kin.”

The edgy, hypnotic, pulsating bass guitar of Steve Hanley on ‘Waterman’ is complemented by Brix’s haunting vocals, transitioning to the catchy, almost upbeat pop of ‘Dinosaur Girl’. But don’t let your ears deceive you. Brix sings honestly of depression and over medication culture – “Below the excavation / Lies the remains of a Prozac nation / Just a dinosaur girl.”

‘Crash Landing’ explores themes of drug addiction and suicide against a psychedelic guitar soundscape, enhanced by the inclusion of violinist Sarah Brandwood-Spencer’s blissful strings, whilst Brix and Steve Trafford share vocal duties, providing fantastical female/male harmonies for ‘Wintertyde’, arranged against spectral harpsichord.

Brix & the Extricated’s social commentary continues on ‘Wasteland’; a dark, operatic track that explores climate change, the destruction of our environment, and conspiracy through intense drum strikes, thunderous guitars, and sweeping strings. Whilst penultimate track, ‘Tannis Root’, is just as heavy, combining staccato rhythm guitar riffs with punchy, powerful basslines.

Closing Super Blood Wolf Moon with a heightened sense of foreboding, ‘The God Stone’ begins with Sarah’s deeply moving strings, building up to a crescendo of eccentric electric guitar. A fitting finale to an often uncomfortable and challenging record seeped in classic pop melodies, abrasive post-punk and brooding social commentary. Prepare to be extricated!

Super Blood Moon Wolf is out now via Grit Over Glamour Records.

Ken Wynne

ALBUM: Brix & The Extricated – ‘Breaking State’

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

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: Krista Lynch