Welcome to Karmic Brick a Boston, MA based Alternative Rock band that doesn't copy anyone. Karmic Brick sparked attention almost immediately upon introducing themselves to the internet indie music community in early 2004. The band built a broad and devoted international fan base. After their critically acclaimed album, The Unnatural World, the three-piece group are back with a new LP Fantasy Adventure Violence. Whilst the group doesn’t push any boundaries musically with this album, the end product is a fun and satisfying listen. Highlights include the grungy Blind Token Philosophy Man, the organic rich tapestry of Good Little Children and the edgy summer rock vibe of Special. Fantasy Adventure Violence is satisfying rock for any indie music fan!
CJ Sez: Turn it up and rock out!
"Gahd" is the 'eye-opening' 'ear-dividing' 'consciousness-awakening' opener with it's chest cavity exposed to reveal the first line in the song to be 'I can only smile as you take my rib..' now be honest... that's an absolutely stupidly orginal opening lyrical persuasion if ever I heard one!!! The slush-grunge guitar slashing coupled with the Jimmy LaPrad skin-specials make you realize you're listening to something indubitably uncommon these days.. independent brilliance! I love Jim's drum work and as it's bound very tightly into Mike Keel's bass playing from drum-head to fret-work, it's even more refreshing to hear. So... KB gets the wax seal of classic wonderment for track one... let's see what happens next...
"Blind Token Philosophy Man" arrives with speckles of early 80s UK New Wave with USA flavourings. I almost wanna pogo but I'm a bit long-in-the-tooth for that these days. Not only have the band managed to mess with time but they've also managed to mess with the ageing process and gone back physiologically and psychologically together to the days when basement nightclubs with bare walls and paint-tin ashtrays were a major asset to the interiors. This is a smart track... it engages things kept hidden for the past two and a half decades and replenishes the parts not many artists can reach.
"Weak" heralds the return of the delightful Erin Ahearn who did such a smart job of guitar and vocals on the last album and who has now arrived fully equipped with an even more soul enticing voice than she did on The Unnatural World (**note from Karmic Brick: lead vocals on “The Unnatural World” were preformed by Vicki Garino and backing vocals were performed by Erin Ahearn.**). The song is presented with a somewhat bitter collection of lyrics spread out and magnified by a trilogy of terror from the drums, bass, and guitars with the dark veil provided by some exceptional backing vocals. I think I've said it before but this really is a nice example of the kind of thing that would make Karmic Brick shine on tour!
"Listen" is very CBGBs and New York City in my eyes (and ears). A little hint of the kind of thing that would have given Blondie another platinum single in the early eighties but in the hands of KB has become an intrinsically cool modern classic. Love the guitars especially.. but the vocals... deary deary me Erin (took me an hour to get back down to the floor!!!!).
"I Don't Care" messes with time again and you find yourself leaping back and forth from 2006 to 1966 to 2007, almost after every couple of bars! Jim's vocals are magnificent and the arrangements are positively excellent. It's testimony to the fact that Karmic Brick have got to the point where there's no going back... it's onward and upward I'm afraid and for those of you with an ounce of common sense, let me elucidate... with only five tracks reviewed so far, this album must be bought and prized and I Don't Care is one of five very important reasons why!
I love "Special".. it's the kind of track I wished I'd produced and it really isn't right that I had nothing to do with it except wish for it to appear. As it has, I can tell you that it's a brilliant track filled with some very smart lyrics 'Life is long enough to accomplish nothing.. and fade away' no folks it's not at all introspective or melancholy, it's absolute truth that kind of exudes optimism and brightness.. well it does for me anyways!
"Outside" is the track that brings back memories of a superb Australian band 'The Clouds' who's
interspersing of smooth caressing vocals and solid drum work made the band a phenomenon.
The same thing's happening here courtesy of Erin, Jim and Mike and in the brilliantly conceived production plan that stands as a blueprint for a remarkable album.
"We Are Here" delivers the kind of punch your senses needed but were afraid to request! With a
Westernized Bonanza-esque collateral riff set between verses, the track exudes excellence in
composition and production and... dare I say it again... uniqueness! Clint Eastwood would love
this! Watch out for the expertly provided guitar work and mixing desk magic that Karmic Brick are
now unsurprisingly renowned for!
I've been dying to hear KB's version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" with the support of the delightfully talented didjeridoo-er Ed Drury (Tablas and Dijeridoo) taking a crack at Ringo Starr's percussive efforts is magnificent! The vocals are exceptional and the bass forwards and guitar reverses are spellbinding. How they do this kind of thing so well is a bit above the ordinary and well worth the effort!
"You Love Me" sends shivers down my neck within the first minute... it's another example of the band's versatility in songwriting and in their adherence to wonderful arrangements that makes this track so indisputably superb! I had a conversation with Phil Hardy some time ago about the fact that I just can't help describing things in music sometimes that are hard to describe as anything other than 'superb'. I said 'I have to be careful not to exaggerate Phil... he said ' Nah... 'superb' can say it all!'
"Good Little Children" brings this excellent album to an end. Where KB messed with Eighties, Sixties and late Seventies themes earlier, they bring the adult orientated pop/rock genre back to the new millennium with this one! The piano excursion around the two minute mark is incredible. Laced with outstanding guitar and vocals this is the song that promises more splendour to come in Karmic Brick's third as yet 'untitled' and 'uncompleted' masterpiece!
Buy this album and support the band folks.. you’ll be ever so sharply delighted that you did and unequivocally ashamed if you don't!
The album is emmersed in grunge... clever grunge that is, and vocals that go up the walls, around the radiators, across the cieling and straight down the back of your neck when you least expect them to. This is where Karmic Brick's innovation becomes the icing on the cake along with accomplished songwriting and expert arrangements... it's all totally unpredictable folks... and the musicianship hahahah... is like a defibrillator for the soul!
The album opens with the brilliant Pain... what an undeniably brilliant example of where alt rock grunge thrashing sensitivies should be leaning... superb vocals and slamming guitars and harmonies make this track an epitaph to be reckoned with. The studio must have been suspended in pure unadulterated excellence the day this track was mastered! The follow up Bite is an example of the unpredictability I mentioned earlier... female lead vocals and harmonies over a set of lyrics that deserve much applause just for their cleverness. The articulated emphasis is what keep your ears transfixed but watch out for the superb drum work on this track... Jim's having master musician fun with those sticks and it makes the track even more acceptable to the most discerning of listeners. On a UK/European/Australian tour... this band would do very very well indeed!
Walking in my mind is one of the most ridiculously superb tracks I've heard in ages.. there's some lovely guitar work here... sprinkled with the magic bass and drum thingyos present in the previous tracks with everything placed across the audio canvas exactly where it should be. The golden harmonies and lead vocals are a real treat but you should have a look at the lyrics and give them your fullest attention cos they're certainly 'up there' examples of songwriting at it's best. Heather, meanwhile, sorta reminds me of the kind of stuff that made Billy Corgan shine with the Smashing Pumpkins and I'd love to see the song performed live in front of a capacity audience. Watch how the guitars and drums blend perfectly together in ways that make your listening ears truly grateful.. the choice in style of lead vocal on this track was a very very wise choice indeed... brilliant, accomplished and perfect for this particular track. Mention should be made of the wired-up-to-heaven guitar solo... you want real alt rock guitar... then look no further... another boundary just got pushed to it's limits!
High is a track that the producers of Garbage would have loved to have had a good go at, but then Karmic Brick have had a good go at it and ended up with a little gem. The harmonies have been arranged in that nice unpredictable fashion that makes Karmic Brick's music stand out and for those of you who'd like an example of ingenuity in vocal arrangements and production... this is yet another very welcome example. I found the the title for the next track: Amber Jesus to be really intriguing and then when I pressed PLAY... I was instantly whisked away to the dressing room where I first met Debbie Harry back in 1979... there are echo's of early Blondie and even 10,000 Maniacs here... you're immediately transported to the time when Blondie were at their absolute best and when Debbie Harry became the spokesperson for clever New York pop laced punk. I love this song... mostly for it's ingenuity and also for it's commercial approach... the vocals, the musicianship and the deliverty are second to none from a band where second to none has become second nature.
Needles takes us back to the core and dynamics that make Karmic Brick quite a sensational team of artists. I love the guitar work and sweeps which have been blessed with superb vocals to make yet another KB track that little bit above what you might be beginning to expect from them. I'd like to know what inspiration and mechanics went into this song... just because that's the kind of thing I'd like to know and also because this is one hell of an innovative piece of music in anyone's estimation. The song ends so unexpectedly cleverly that you feel you've been robbed and so you're forced to press the PLAY button again just to be sure that what you've just heard really happened!
Happy, I am absolutely convinced, was delivered to Karmic Brick's imagination and creativity with a postage stamp from heaven. It's another UK/European/Australian tour kinda thing that would have audiences spellbound... I love the arrangements, particularly with respect to the bass, drums, and guitar sequences... as for the vocals... well of course they're laughingly excellently rendered as always! Happy is followed by Experience Jones; another intriguing title for an intriguing song. A little more vocally Natalie Marchant (10,000 Maniacs) than might have been reflected in Amber Jesus but very Karmic Brick... it's a highly contagious song and superbly epidemiological for listeners and admirers... it's another WOW track containing the necessary ingredients to make your heart and soul soar with delight.
I don't want it is one of the best written alt pop/rock tunes I have heard in such a long time for it's compositional expression and songwriting mastery. What this means, for the uninitiated, is that 'I don't want it' encapsulates what a songwriter needs to flavour his or her lyrics in order to get the very best out of what was originally conceived at the writing table. Superb vocals and muscianship are the desired flavourings in this case and they're brought together in a way that demands a certain amount of respect and appreciation for the originality leaking out of the speakers (or in this case... the Sennheisers!). It's a brilliantly commercially embroidered track and Karmic Brick have done an excellent job in positioning this track as the second to last on the album.
The Unnatural World ends with the masterpiece that is Poser. For me... it's one of the very best tracks on the album and it's also the track that Elley Wilson, of R Cat Canada, wished she'd written. I absolutely love the chorused guitars and outstanding drums and bass work... very cleverly put together. The vocals have been managed and delivered with ribbons and gift tags and packaging that all ear candy needs to be delivered in and they certainly make the song a truly magnificent piece of work.... superb... briliantly colourful, and dynamically inviting.
It took me ages to get this album review up... apologies to Jim, Vicki, Mike, Erin, Scott, you deserved better... but I think I've made up for it in my attemtps to describe something that was truly well worth the wait... and astonishingly clever album from astonishingly innovative boundary bending writers and musicians who hang out below the Karmic brick umberella. The Unnatural World is worth everything the price tag says it's worth... but the truth is... Karmic brick's album is worth so much more than that!
Colin Lynch - November 25 2004
'Pain' starts off with a descending punky riff and then launches into a gritty little rocker. This is on the right side of 80s rock. Think of a harder version of Blondie or Toyah and you're getting close.
It's definitely grungey in this little chamber of sado masochism. It has all the elements. Thrashing guitars, punchy bass, a well-flogged drumkit and best of all: Mistress Garino whips us into shape with a fine vocal delivery worthy of many a post punk goddess.
Amber Jesus - easy swinging alternative rift. Vocals remind me a bit of the early pretenders in a good way. Very topical (or intravenous as it were) lyrics.
Experience Jones - Again, lyrical content is very intelligent and delivered cleanly enough to engage me but stylistically enough to be enjoyable with the mind clutch depressed. Guitar solo is fuzzidelically smooth and creamy.... it's like ice cream it's so good.
I'd like to hear this band break out of the tight controls of genre and just go head banging nuts. I think it's all just under the surface in these too songs which I like ever so much. But I want to hear the Brick as it would sound tossed through a window. Not a complaint, just a request. Put one of your harder tracks up please.
Having made my request, I must say you are a very good band and obviously I like you 'cause I've listened now twice and am already making requests.
You're in my faves list as of today
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