American Brix Smith-Start is something of an iconic figure in the world of rock and to women in general. She released a best-selling autobiography in 2016 The Rise, The Fall and the Rise about her momentous life including time spent in Manchester band the Fall as a singer and lead guitarist and being married to the legendary Mark E. Smith.
Brix and the Extricated release their debut album Part 2 today on Blang Records. Brix was reunited with former Fall members Steve Hanley and Paul Hanley in Manchester’s Ruby Lounge in December 2014. At the time they were celebrating the launch of Steve Hanley’s memoir: The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall and got together to play a few Fall songs. The concert was such a hit that they went on to perform more gigs in 2015 including a national UK tour. Then another ex-Fall member Steve Trafford got on board and Irish guitarist Jason Brown and they were complete.
They continued to play ex-Fall songs that they had written but had not been played for 30 years. They were overjoyed to find that once further rehearsals started, writing new material became second nature once again. Spurred on by the reaction from their live performances they worked on releasing a new album expected in Autumn 2017. The album is accompanied by a new documentary about them directed by film-maker Daniel Edelstyn. Opening track Pneumatic Violet pulls no punches. “I will not be forsaken, there will be no mistaking. You will pay for your action, no-one gets a retraction” combines 60s pop guitars with snarling vocals. With lyrics that go straight for the jugular, this is an energetic start.
Something to Lose brings Paul Hanley’s thumping drums and a 70s glam rock stomper of a beat. Then on Hotel Bloedel Brix comes on sounding all sweet and vulnerable to a backdrop of dreamy Byrds-like guitars. Damned for Eternity (the debut single off the album) is Brix back in sneering form for this powerhouse ode.
The stand-out track for me is their new single Moonrise Kingdom which was inspired by a movie of the same name by Wes Anderson. Written initially by Steve Trafford, Brix rewrote the lyrics and melody. What results is a gorgeous song full of psychedelic waves and exquisite harmonies (from Steve Trafford) recalling in their own words “the aching passion of youth, a time when the possibility of life’s adventures is limitless and soaring.” Not to be missed.
LA comes on all surfer-rock and Pixies sounding with a great bass riff and drums. Hollywood has an inspired Blondie feel and some wonderful guitar lines bringing this buzzing album to its pinnacle. On Part 2 Brix’s vocal veer somewhere between a sugary sweet drawl and Amazonian holler. It hits the spot with its mixture of punky garage pop, kick-ass attitude and razor-sharp guitars. A band that sounds like they’re having fun, the second time around. Catch them on tour.
22nd Sept Rough Trade Nottingham In Store Nottingham
23rd Sept Rough Trade East In Store London
27th Sept Roadmender w/ Jesus and Mary Chain Northampton
1st Oct Rock City w/ Jesus and Mary Chain Nottingham
14th Oct Georgian Theatre Stockton on Tees
2nd Nov Sticky Mikes Brighton
3rd Nov Oslo London
4th Nov Cellar Oxford
8th Nov Newhampton Arts Centre Wolverhampton
9th Nov Thekla Bristol
10th Nov Bodega Nottingham
11th Nov The Cookie Leicester
17th Nov Cluny Newcastle
18th Nov Academy 3 Manchester
24th Nov Stereo Glasgow
25th Nov Beat Generator Dundee