“There's only two things I know for sure
the world's a-strife with hatred and music is the cure
and when they come knocking down my door
I'll stand my ground guitar in hand and play until my bones run raw”
These lines open Brackenthorn's debut EP Pissed Drunk and with them the folk-punk group kick-off a series of rustic love letters to tavern sing-alongs and indeed to music itself. A mixture of snarky wit, pointed barbs and hope, Pissed Drunk has one main theme: music will cure what ails you. Opening track “The Cure” makes this clear as day. Will Curry sings with a palpable happiness against a bouncing melody of acoustic strings. A swelling violin even makes the repeated image “until my bones run raw” sound bright and cheerful.
This attitude carries over into the second track, “Dancing, Singing, Drinking.” A somewhat minimal piece, Curry puts down his motivation for doing what he does: “It's cos I got dreams from childhood/And that's alright.” It's obvious he wants you to follow the same motivation, to follow your passions for the satisfaction more than any possible reward, and there's such a warmth to his voice that it's actually really charming.
Though Pissed Drunk is largely a party, it does deliver a rather unique punch to the gut. In the song “New Ages” Curry describes “a life wasted on art” and depicts his failing heart as a broken-down instrument as “melody dies away.” This sudden about-face hints at an awareness in the group's song writing, an acknowledgment that maybe things won't work out. Still, music is the great healer as a remorseful harmonica underscores the narrative.
The lyrics take a surreal twist as well, begging “run rabbit run as you fall into the neon day glow.” There's such a sadness to it, even if you can't quite put your finger on what all the pieces mean and it's made all the more forceful by bassist Toby Cook's backing vocals. The EP ends on a redemptive note with “Solid Philosophy,” a call to arms rife with one-liners.
Pissed Drunk is infectious—in both its joys and its sorrows—thanks to sharp lyrics and addictive melodies. Listeners who love to sing along will have no problem falling into these songs and feeling right at home.
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