Von Braun’s latest EP takes a few listens to get into. Initially I was unconvinced but I did persevere (I listened to it on a long car journey-loudly and several times) and it was worth the effort. There are some incredibly haunting melodies and fantastic guitar throughout the EP with all six songs (including the Intro and Outro) covering a range of different moods and paces, all of a slightly different sound – although distinctly that of the band – each song might appeal to a wide audience of music lovers.
The EP on the whole is darkly atmospheric. The first song, ‘Black Saxon’, is filled with heavy guitar riffs and layered vocals, with the lead singer being accompanied by backing harmonies, perhaps the vocals are slightly too “shouty” at times, but I think that is more a matter of taste.
The song ‘Melanoma Head’ is about cancer, a topic generally not covered in songs! It seems that Von Braun aren’t a band to write lyrics for generic love songs. At a slower pace, the song’s simplistic drum beats and quieter more emotional lyrics build to a faster pace leading to the climax of the song which is filled with loud guitars.
The title track, ‘Cat Dog’, is also one of the faster, louder songs on the album. The introduction is one of the highlights of the EP for me. The heavy, slightly distorted, guitar riffs and strong catchy guitar chords are fantastic but the song quickly progresses into something more serious as the vocals start. Again the vocals are pushed to a holler, but they show a sense of desperation. The lyrics too: “I can still hear them screaming/ I can still see your eyes” further show that anguish, as well as more layering of the vocals.
The slowest and gentlest song, ‘Into The Hollow’ is the most haunting song on the EP. Both the EP’s ‘(Intro)’ and ‘(Outro)’ are linked into this song. The former taken from the introduction of the song and latter being a continuation. Both songs focus on the instrumental aspect of ‘Into The Hollow’, they use the voice as an instrument that compliments the music beautifully rather than overpowers it. The song begins with gentle fingerpicked guitar and the lead singer speaking rather than singing, the chorus then overlap the vocals that really portray the sadness and the emotion of the song.
Overall, Von Braun are a promising bunch. Rough around the edges and unafraid to seem unclean, fans of Pixies will find much to love on this cracking little EP.
Released on 22nd June 2012 by Big Red Sky Records