The Brood might have called their first full album Transistor, but they could very well have meant Flux Capacitor. Like a bunch of Marty McFlys in a Bricklin, they’re not all that great at time travelling. On the other hand, the result is a beautiful smorgasbord of late 20th century radio hits, like someone produced the album after glossing over the cliffnotes of pop music.
Bizarre as it is, it’s hard not to like Transistor. They’ve drawn from so many influences that there’s bound to be something in there you love.
‘Chicken Cheese Beer’ immediately steps to the right into a synth laden jumper of late night meal-plan woes that would be right at home in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Siobhan Martin plays like an electric Gould, nailing down the flavour of the album with the kind of kitsch-camp that’s ridiculous but executed with such a skillful ear for the genre-like cornucopia that you have to admire it. While you can hear the tightness of a band that have played together their whole lives, it’s Martin’s keys and Habib’s bass playing off each other that sets the tone for the album.
Transistor then follows with ‘The Don’, the sort of 80s hit that’s reminiscent of Huey Lewis and the News’ groundbreaking album Sports. The song’s uptempo chorus paired with themes of megalomania provide the listener something to consider as well as give the album a real boost.
‘Exile In Suburbia’ loses itself somewhere between Link Wray, the middle east, and a lifetime of dish soap commercial jingles. It’s par for the course in the ubiquitous struggle for self-expression and definition amongst cookie-cutter row houses.
‘Munchies’ sounds like the celebrity chef theme song crafted by Frank Zappa over a funky disco Hall & Oates track. From there we touch on Gilbert O’Sullivan meets 10cc in the sentimental ‘First Day Of School’ before getting into the RUSH-esque instrumental ‘Sex Ed’ and the Electric Light Orchestra meets your Under the Sea themed prom night track ‘Night Beach.’ The album finishes with the jam-powered ‘The Weekend,’ which The Brood will presumably be using as their midnight closer all festival season long.
Where another band might have ripped off their idols, The Brood have taken them as raw ingredients and injected them mad-lib style. There’s enough mixing and matching to keep it creative and still safely plant the band’s freak flag over it, but satisfies those of us who want to know what it sounds like to have A Flock Of Seagulls do a Frank Zappa song.