Review | Asylums – Killer Brain Waves


Out now via Cool Thing Records

Rating: 6/10

By Keira Trethowan

With a sound emblazoning qualities of a juvenile Get Inuit, Asylums are a fast-paced venture of zany unrealism. This chaotic discordance, although done to death by many lesser talented groups, makes way for something quite explosive – and their much awaited album ‘Killer Brain Waves’ is the chief catalyst.

Opening with fury is ‘Second Class Sex’, which immediately sets the tone for the album and delivers continuous riffs that you’ll need to take a step back to recover from. From there on, the album deviates into an equally as fiery, yet diverse, array of tracks smeared in rock vitality.

With loquacious boldness, the album also loosely confronts serious issues of austerity in society. ‘Necessary Appliances’ is one such track and fiercely balances the provocative lyrics with an addictive instrumental counterpart that is equally as fierce in its sonority. This combination marks it as an album highlight, and it’s novel to hear a group writing about relevant subjects in a time where the world is in such turmoil.

Yet, it’s hard to pin down exactly what genre the band are aiming for. Within the album there are features of pop-punk, indie and psychedelia spilling out from the seams. I, for one, am an avid devotee for any group colouring outside the lines, but this merger sounds less like an experimentation and more akin to a group who haven’t quite found their sound yet. But don’t get me wrong, for a debut album it’s some hell of a stepping stone towards something outlandishly brilliant, and I look forward to seeing the direction in which the group head.

Another intriguing quality is the energy that the band have managed to seize in ‘Killer Brain Waves.’ The record merely expels this delirious spirit that many other groups would be unable to capture on record. ‘I’ve Seen Your Face in a Music Magazine’ is the key example of this bold and brash vehemence, marking its territory as something fierce that you wouldn’t want to oppose. From this, I can imagine their live-shows to be utter pandemonium, with a genuine performance of dramatic chaos.

The album isn’t ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination but its reliable means of kick-arse energy relinquishes a quality that makes it distinctive in its own right. I can see why it’s been ceremoniously gifted with the title ‘Killer Brain Waves’.