Just after their debut album was released, ‘indietronica’ band Breton had to watch their home, an abandoned warehouse in South London, get demolished. BretonLABS was where they partied, shot video, slept and consulted artists. Releasing a sophomore on top of getting kicked out was a challenge, but luckily for us, this turned out to be just the boost needed to make War Room Stories, this time coming from an old communist radio station in Berlin, awesome.
It’s difficult to review a band that refuse to assign themselves to one genre, but the variation, which could have so easily made the album incohesive, messy and fluctuating, works incredibly well, to keep you excited for the next twist that’s going to come your way.
Take for instance the movement between opening track ‘Envy’, and its follow up, ‘S4’. The first sounds like it’s been taken straight from Yannis from Foals’ internal jukebox, a seductive pop riff delivered with tangibly British vocals and studded violin. When this is brought to a finish and replaced by the latter, a completely different atmosphere is brought to the forefront. A sound produced from a plucked violin underlays a dance music beat that, at exactly 2:13, drops a bass to turn it straight into Dubstep. It’s robotic, with frontman Roman Rappak keeping perfect, even rhythm over the juxtaposed instruments and beats.â€¨
Although it sounds like they’re leaping, the changes between each track are more like strides; noticeable, but not strenuous. By the time we reach ‘Legs & Arms’ on track three, we’ve moved away from the electronic backing again, but Rappak’s vocals are distorted, linear and almost aggressive.
Penultimate track ‘Brothers’ moves all over the place, from slow piano minimalism to multi-warble chorusing.
But what makes War Room Stories stand out and exceed its predecessor is its active voice, its energy. It’s restless, but by no means reckless. This is what glues the tracks together: drive and control.
Whether shaking your toosh at the indie disco or laying in bed with headphones, War Room Stories is the ultimate chameleon record.