Music Review: Brave Little Abacus’s “Just Got Back from the Discomfort”

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Kolja Westhues, Writer

The Brave Little Abacus’s 2010 album Just Got Back from the Discomfort—We’re Alright is an amazing math-rock emo record that uses weird time signatures, wacky instruments, and satisfying dynamics.

The first track, “Pile! No Pile! Pile!” is jarring in the first few seconds, but I immediately got used to it, which is perfect as it continues for the rest of the album. The song is full of angsty, screaming vocals and bass-heavy guitars.

This feeling carries into several tracks that use synthesizers that mimic old videogame music, which emulates a sense of nostalgia well.

The drums on this record are very unorthodox, as they heavily use repetitive cowbells and unusual time signatures, which makes the music more interesting.

The track “Can’t Run Away” starts with acoustic guitars using harmonics within the rhythm. This song is a highlight because it is quieter and uses lighter noises, like tambourines and bells. It then builds up to yelled lyrics and then breaks down into a slower song.

The following track “Untitled (Cont.)” starts with very cinematic horns and other loud instruments, builds up to even louder instrumentals, and then breaks down into a ringing melody with tightened drums.

The best track on the album is the second to last track named “Bug-Infested Floorboards—Can We Please Just Leave This Place, Now.” This track builds up to a heavily emotional and cinematic peak that uses horns, screamed vocals, and syncopated drums. It then falls down to an acoustic guitar and adlibbed reprised lyrics from earlier in the song.

However, the final track is not as good of a closer as “Bug-Infested Floorboards”; it instead has almost annoyingly repeated lyrics and would’ve been better if it ended a track early.

Since I found this record, it has become one of my favorite LPs of all time. However, it is somewhat niche due to the way the album is performed. The lyricist screams in a way that some love and some hate, and the way the drums and instruments complement each other is also somewhat unorthodox in a way some people love and some people hate. I rate this album with 5 out of 5 stars for its adventurousness and unique sound.