I confess, I’ve not listened to a single Italian punk band other than Dufresne, who I also only knew because of their rather great cover of Texas Is the Reason’s ‘Antique’. Luckily this set a fairly high standard, so it was with little to no trepidation I put on the new LP from Firenze’s very own 30 Miles’, Short Tales for Braves.
Opener ‘The Forest’ adds slow layers of ambience before bursting into life in a breathless charge, with some smart serrated melodic guitar sequestered amongst the crunching power chords, only to wind back in on itself and adopt a slower pace for the rest of things. It’s an ambitious opener, and is swiftly followed by ‘Candle Thief’ and ‘Brotherhood Spirit’ which burst out of the speakers with some well-placed harmony vocals and some machine gun palm-muting reminiscent of A Wilhelm Scream.
The latter comparison is one that comes to mind several times over the course of the album, albeit with a vocal styling more reminiscent of Waxwing’s more desperate moments rather than Nuno Pereira’s muscular bark, with the odd jangly guitar filigree tossed in here and there to add some flavour to the stew. The production ably reflects the strong performances from every member of the band, with the bass given a pleasing clarity and thump that helps to highlight the counterpoint and melody it supplies rather than simply following the guitar’s chord progression.
‘Their Brains Upside Down’ is a pleasing harmony-laden left turn, perhaps more reminiscent of The Smiths or The Cure rather than other such bludgeoning touchstones as mentioned before, and it’s a nice little twist in the middle of the record. ‘Painter on Panic’ is something of a sprawling epic, as punk goes, while ‘The Illusionist’ piles on the dirt and snarling vocals for an aggressive, attacking song that is definitely one of the highlights, even adding a pretty ripping guitar solo for good measure. ‘The Beasts’ lives up to its name with a foreboding spoken word intro before some metal-influenced ripping and some outright bellowed vocals practically going for your throat.
Short Tales for Braves isn’t long – around 33 minutes – but it packs a lot into a short time, showing that these young men have a fair few tricks in their bag. Not everything works, and some of the songs might have been enhanced by cutting the odd bit of noodling here and there, but it’s a strong and well played outing. Arguably the best moments are where the band really cuts loose and delves into its heavier side; definitely worth a spin.
Stream and download Short Tales For Braves here: https://30milesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/short-tales-for-braves
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This review was written by Omar Ramlugon.