Birds Of Tokyo - BRACE

Australian alternative rock band Birds Of Tokyo hit it big on their new record BRACE. It's a massive collection of both electronica and rock brought in with a unique vibe.

BRACE is the band's fifth record, and it really shows a progression. The album brings a seamless blend of electronics and rock to the table while still maintaining a core integrity. The album begins with the spooky synths of 'Harlequins,' crunchy, synthy guitar coming in with a dramatic beat before a stronger, heavier part comes in. The vocals are creepy, the dripping synths in the back adding color to the evil sounding track. Title track 'Brace' follows through with much the same vibe, instead getting to the instruments a bit quicker. The synth-laced guitar riffs are met with haunting choirs and a giant chorus to electrify the song.

There's a poppier side to the record, too. 'Empire' is more uplifting and not as industrial sounding as previous tracks were. The synths are more jumpy and hopeful, the vocals and key reflecting that. The instrumental washes over you rather than attempting to threaten you. 'Above / Below' doesn't necessarily stay purely uplifting, but its energetic synth and guitar leads give it a generally more uplifting vibe than the rest of the record, though the end does ultimately resolve into a dark, haunting ending. The Jezebels vocalist Hayley Mary features on 'Discoloured,' a smoother track that has a brooding nature but a dreamy atmosphere - combined with the sweet female vocals, it makes for a chiller track with a sweet urgency and powerful sense of melody.

Most of the record revolves around the epic, cinematic vibes the intro tracks set up, though. See 'Crown,' the pounding drums blasting with adventure and confidence as Ian Kenny sings with the same timbre of his progressive project Karnivool. The two are definitely separate entities beyond the vocals, though. 'Crown' reigns powerfully with haunting harmonies, the thick rhythm guitar sweeping smoothly but powerfully on top of the same creepy choirs from 'Brace.' The album's end is the nearly seven minute epic 'Mercy Arms,' beginning like a modern Pink Floyd before Kenny's voice brings in a searching wonder. The song builds with drive, the drum beat beginning its build as more and more powerful leads progress in each chorus. It reaches its heavenly climax before washing away like a wave, the remnants of the track slowly dissipating to conclude the record.

Birds Of Tokyo hit it huge on BRACE. It's powerful, covers a lot of ground, and develops its core principles cleanly throughout its run time, giving it both diversity and cohesion. Kelly has hit it big with his latest releases (can't wait for that fourth Karnivool record now!), and it's no surprise that BRACE is a giant record. Australia's finest is at work here.

Favorite Tracks: Crown, Discoloured, Brace, Above / Below

Least Favorite Track: Empire

Rating: 86 / 100