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Breton – War Room Stories

“Two years is not so long ago…” With the release of their debut, Other People’s Problems in 2012, South London’s Breton left the depths of their BretonLab with musical art pieces in hand and mind and made their way into the touring fray, which included international junkets and SXSW. Two years later in 2014, Breton returns with their second album, War Room Stories and another venture to Austin for SXSW where this time, they need not worry about people knowing who they were as was expressed by Roman Rappak, lead vocalist and guitarist, during the band’s gig at Red 7 Patio.

In 2013 Breton teased fans with the Force of Habit E.P., which contained the first track to War Room Stories, “Envy,” jetting out with a rapid-fire contemporary rhythm, concocted of a brew of steel drums and their signature string sampled keyboards.

The band finished writing and recorded War Room Stories in Berlin, and the track “302 Watchtowers” has that feel of the city, pulsing with the clapping and clacking of subtle industry machines as they work around the clock, bellowing white smoke into the cold air in an almost comforting fashion. And yet this and “S4” are one of many moments from other releases that places Breton into the driver seat as the soundtrack to the streets of London, the rush of people down the escalator in the underground during rush hour, feeling the mist of another overcast day while waiting for the 26 bus, or walking from London Fields station at dusk through the alley that’s covered in street art.

Palpitating friction stems from “Search Party” with the antithesis of Rappak’s vocals, which seem to seep out of him through the mere effort of parting his lips versus pushing sound out of his lungs and through his human chords. Pushing itself to the top of the mountain to stare down and out at the results of a glorious climb, the chorus of “Fifteen Minutes” soars, either with or in contrast to the lyrical premise.

One of the bonus tracks, “Treadmill,” is no afterthought, with sinewy, down and dirty bass lines and that juxtaposition of twinkling keyboards sprinkled on top, perfect for a run through Victoria Park or away from the police, whatever your sitch may be.

Although Breton – which in addition to Rappak includes Adam Ainger on drums, Dan McIlvenny on bass, Ian Patterson on samples and Breton artwork, and Ryan McClarnon on cinematic visuals – has definitely come out of their lab shell on War Room Stories, this team of songwriters, filmmakers, graphic designers and sample crafters still retain a heavy dose of mystery, from the “How did they make that sound?” to “What does that song mean?” That is part of the appeal. In the world where everything is ‘out there’ we need more mystery and intrigue, even while we’re staring at these guys perform right in front of our eyes or at the lyric sheet. It’s human nature to want this, to keep Oz behind the curtain.

That somewhat self-deprecating nature of that SXSW performance is said to have emulated the overall dark mood and persona of Other People’s Problems, and that may be true for some. Contrary to that thought, from then until now with War Room Stories, the emotional energy that shoots from Breton aligns at the heart of both the introvert, hooded in cafe over a laptop with earbuds shutting out the world as much as it could shoot that person out of his or her chair with a rallying cry to dance as if no one is looking.

With only two more years of life, travels, performances in grand halls to underground clubs, music, art and filmmaking under their belts, Breton has ventured very far. The band’s shows during SXSW 2014, and the inclusion of a stop in Denver at Larimer Lounge on March 20, are highly anticipated, was the release of War Room Stories for the new music of 2014. No doubt this album will be in many people’s best of lists for this year. Adding icing to the cake in the form of Breton’s short-film element within their live shows, catch them if you can, even if it means making a long drive or booking a flight.

Purchase War Room Stories at:

Breton Tour Dates:

23 Feb – Botanique, Brussels
24 Feb – Übel & Gefährlich, Hamburg
25 Feb – BETA, Copenhagen
26 Feb – Privat Club, Berlin
28 Feb – Paradiso, Amsterdam
3 March – The Louisiana, Bristol
4 March – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
5 March – Village Underground, London
6 March – La Cigale, Paris
7 March – Le 106, Rouen
8 March – L’Echonova, Saint-Avé

Breton at SXSW 2014:

Thursday, 13 March – Heatwave Party (Gag, Popscene) Cherrywood Coffee House (1400 E 38th 1/2 St, Austin, TX 78722) – 4pm – RSVP

Thursday, 13 March – Holy Mountain (617 E. 7th St), 10:15pm (official showcase, requires a badge)

Friday, 14 March – Reverb Party – Dirty Dog Bar (505 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701) – 2:15pm – RSVP

12, 13, 14, 15 March – Beautiful Buzzz & Most Definitely The Green Room Party – Brew Exchange (706 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701) – set time and date TBD, RSVP

Additional Tour Dates:

Sunday, 16 March – Club Dada, Dallas (with Spillover MF, Dum Dum Girls, Ty Segall, Blouse, Nothing, and more)

Thursday, 20 March – Larimer Lounge, Denver

20 – 23 March – Treefort Music Fest 2014, Boise



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