California pop-punk veterans Bracket are back with their long-awaited release entitled Hold Your Applause. In true DIY fashion, the band funded the new disc and other forthcoming projects by making available for digital download numerous releases.
I was very excited to put on my headphones and take a listen to what the Fat Wreck Chords alumni do what they do best. However, this excitement was quickly squashed within the first two minutes of listening. With sixteen tracks, this album is much too long and lacks the drive and enthusiasm a pop-punk record should instill in the listener. Most of this album is a quickly thrown together, under produced, and overall disappointing.
The album opener, “Not a Pear”, is a bizarre, slow track with very little soul, weak harmonies throughout, a mandolin, and a ukulele… Why the band decided to introduce ukuleles and mandolins to their lineup is beyond me.
Despite the disappointing first track, there are a few highlights. “Caving In”, “The Light” and “She’s My Eraser” are all great pop-punk songs, similar to those we’ve grown to know and love from these guys, but it’s all downhill from there. Dreary songs like “A Striking Disappearance” and “Mandy Lynn” beg the listener to give up on the album before getting to great upbeat tracks like “Gone” and “Habit”.
This album is the definition of quantity over quality. The production quality is very low throughout the album. There is no rhyme or reason to how the songs were selected, nor the order in which they are listed. The introduction of ukuleles and mandolins are more annoying than anything, and do not benefit the album at all.
Though there are many negative points, the album is not a complete waste. If you remove the long-winded dreary songs, the ukuleles, mandolins, and re-organize the track list, there is potential for a really good twenty-five minute album. The hype and potential of this album was clearly wasted. Having eight years to plan and write for an album, you would expect some musical growth, but Hold Your Applause is simply what you would come to expect from Bracket.
Don’t worry, Bracket. I am holding my applause.
Written by Christopher Siklosi