Album Review: The Brutalists – “We Are Not Here To Help”
The Brutalists’ debut album was one of the unexpected triumphs of last year, seeing ex-Quireboys man Nigel Mogg hooking up with ex-LA Guns guitarist Mick Cripps to churn in a set of new wave/pub rock indebted standards which was as surprising as it was catchy. Back a mere 12 months later, it’s clear right from the opening strut of Leave It Out which barrels along sounding like a cross between T-Rex and Dr Feelgood that they’re intent on carrying on from where they left off.
If I Just Do Nothing has that skittering Wilko Johnson style guitar work from Cripps that marked the Brutalists’ first album out as one to check out while the keyboards on Who’s Gonna Believe Ya? almost recall Silver Machine era Hawkwind of all things.
One of the great things about the Brutalists’ debut was the way it was happy to bounce between genres without any thoughts of trying to be predictable and I’m pleased to report that We Are Not Here To Help very much carries on in that vein. In here, you’ll find echoes of everyone from the Who (You Got Nothin’ On Me) through the Specials (Something To Say) right through to Electric Six (Take It All Away definitely bears a passing resemblance to Dick Valentine and co’s Danger High Voltage).
Elsewhere, Useless Information sounds like a cross between the Heavy Metal Kids and latter day Ramones (think Brain Drain or Mondo Bizarro) and Maybe I’m Wrong could almost be Some Girls era Stones. It’s this willingness to chuck whatever the hell they feel like in the pot that makes this such an engrossing an album and the fact that they’ve got the musicianship and ear for a tune to ensure that the Brutalists hit the mark nearly every time pretty much seals the deal for this as a worthy follow-up to their debut. By the time It Was Never Meant To Be So Easy signs things off sounding like Pete Townshend jamming with Roxy Music, you’re more than ready to cue We Are Not Here To Help up for a second listen. Good stuff.
Another excellent effort from the Brutalists and one that should provide plenty of good listening for old and new fans alike. With a disparate but easily enjoyable set of influences and some impressively tight musicianship and tunesmithery present throughout, "We Are Not Here To Help" is an absolute triumph of an album. Go give it a listen.