DIY… a phrase that’s not often favourable as people end up asking themselves the same questions…“Does hard work REALLY pay off?” “Is this even worth all the effort?” Well, with Killer Brain Waves coming out of a spare bedroom in Southend-on-Sea and five tracks from this little gem making a casual walk onto BBC Radio 1, it’s safe to say that Asylums have proved that it does.
Prior to listening to Killer Brain Waves I’d never heard any of Asylums music and was keen to see what all the hype was about. I mean NME and Rock Sound were talking about this band and Zane Lowe was giving them airplay so I kind of knew I was in for a treat. Upon doing a little research I discovered that they describe their genre as “Nostalgia Pollution” and their lead singer Luke is a dead-ringer for that geeky kid with the Afro from The IT Crowd… It’s safe to say I was intrigued. When listening to a new artist I always take note of my first impression and see if it changes as I revisit their work. My first impression of Asylums? WOW. Has that opinion changed? No, Killer Brain Waves is still as exciting now as it was on my first listen.
This album is the extremely energetic, somewhat eccentric nostalgic cocktail I have been craving. Bursting with catchy riffs and vocal lines, it’s like listening to the ferocious lovechild of Britpop and 90’s punk befriend pop before going on to showcase their frustration to the world, as if their lives depend on it. I can’t verbally express how much of a punch it packs.
The opening track “Second Class Sex” throws you straight into the action, with a thundering intro that leads you into a song governed by one hell of a catchy riff and a classic repetitive vocal line, a crowd pleaser. Following this we have “I’ve Seen Your Face In A Music Magazine” which for me, is the standout track of this entire album. Fast-paced drum fills, lively lead lines and once again exceptionally catchy vocal hooks have earned this song a deserving place in my weekly favourites.
“Joy In A Small Wage” slows things down nicely and brings out a chilled, summer evening drives vibe. Now believe me when I say I HATE fade-outs at the end of songs. Most of the time they sound lazy, anti-climactic and appear to be the easy way-out, however Asylums pull it off at the end of this track, I don’t quite know how they did it… but they did. It just feels like you’re drifting away, it’s perfectly executed.
“Monosylabic Saliva” switches things up a bit and features vocal lines that are very clearly grunge inspired. I’m impressed; it showcases both the band’s song-writing capability and their darker side. The entire album is filled with great tracks, another standout one for me being “Missing Persons” the more romantic sounding track from Killer Brain Waves which gives a very clear message to the recipient of the lyrics: “Let’s start over again, maybe I won’t be lonely, maybe I won’t be sad, maybe you’ll be the only friend I have.”
Something I thought necessary to mention is how fond I am of the song titles on this album. They just SCREAM creativity, not a single worded song title is to be found on this album. My personal favourite has to be “Monosylabic Saliva” – it’s just brilliant.
There’s no other way to put it, listening to Killer Brain Waves just makes you feel good, and feeling good is all that matters, right? That’s all we really want from life, isn’t it? I really am a huge fan of Asylums’ rebellious punk sound and with a debut album like Killer Brain Waves I am certain that these guys are going to go far.
Killer Brain Waves is the debut album every band dreams of creating. Packed with energy, character and a whole lot of attitude a debut like this is sure to set Asylums onto a fast road to glory.