Brandon Can't Dance - Graveyard of Good Times (Lucky Number Music)

Brandon Can’t Dance – Graveyard of Good Times (Lucky Number Music)

To reference the musical influences on Graveyard of Good Times would be to miss the point. This incredibly individualistic album is the physical debut of Brandon Can’t Dance, essentially Philadelphian Brandon Ayres. Having self-released several cult albums, Graveyard of Good Times will be released on Lucky Number on 13th January.

There is no doubt about the originality of this album. It has many of the features of an artist whose work has been self-produced, self-played and written. It is introspective and, at times, intense, but it is also upbeat and tuneful.

The lead single ‘Smoke & Drive Around’ features an eighties style pop synthesiser and a Golden Silvers lightness of touch. However, this is a very American record. Most of the references are to youth culture in the US. On this track it’s getting drunk behind the church and then driving around. On ‘Where My Boys At’, it is a Friday night plan for a party involving getting some pizza and watching bands play. But there is something about these tracks that tells us that our singer is not wholly involved. He views life from the sidelines, an outsider, whether he wants to be or not.

Ayres is clearly an able musician and a versatile singer. Within the same song, he moves from a Kurt Vile drawl to a full-on falsetto. It’s as if he is trying to express the different facets of his personality all at once. ‘Headspace’, the opening track, is a case in point. Having started as a classic piece of American male introspection, by the end it’s as if Liz Fraser has walked into the room.

The strongest tracks seem more substantial. ‘Pop Queen of the Teen Scene’ with its gentler guitars and synthesiser contemplates the shallowness of modern media and fame. The consecutive tracks ‘Rock Is Dead’ and ‘Angelina’ are equally good. The music here is stripped back so that the melody is more prominent. Someone appears to be drumming on a milk bottle on ‘Rock Is Dead’ where it’s all JAMC boredom: ‘It’s all been said’ and ‘I’ve been down in the ground’. On ‘Angelina’ the bass strings twang and there is almost a sexy guitar. On this track Ayres’s two voices are intertwined like strange twins or Jekyll and Hyde.

Interspersed are shorter tracks, some a little over two minutes, some a little over one. It seems to be here that the impact of working endless nightshift bursts out. With titles like ‘Fuck Off and We’ll Get Along’, ‘The World Is Broken’ and ‘Freak of the Freaks’ you kind of know what you’re getting into. Fuzzy guitar noises blend with bizarre synthesiser sounds to add a further level of disorientation.

Graveyard Of Good Times hangs together as a coherent piece of art. It has a brave and original voice, seeking only to be an expression of itself. It is music created out of necessity.

Graveyard of Good Times will be released on 13th January 2017 through Lucky Number Music.

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