Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Brakemen-Dancing Down a Fine Line EP

September 1, 2007

Band: The Brakemen

Album: Dancing Down a Fine Line EP

Best Element: Brilliantly produced and beautifully executed

Genre: Classic southern-infused rock


Label: Self-released.

I’ve received three CDs through Independent Clauses that I have continued to frequently listen to after the review was done: Commitment by The Felix Culpa, Ascertain by SleepBellumSonno and Showdown At The Discotheque by The Moment. This month, that list got a little bit bigger as I added The Brakemen’s Dancing Down a Fine Line EP. The Boston foursome put out an EP that blends straightforward rock and a sound reminiscent of a mellowed-out southern rock outfit.

Though The Brakemen hail from the home of the revolution, Boston, Mass, they have a sound that would not be out of place at a country-rock festival in northern Mississippi. Guitarist Tom Borman seamlessly blends twangy southern guitar work reminiscent of Ryan Adams and the straightforward guitar work of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

While the EP has a very familiar sound and is extremely accessible, at no point does the music become boring. Every time a riff seems to settle in, the style changes and a new chord is sliding though your ears, lulling you into a groove that is soon to be interrupted. And while many bands try to change styles and only end up confusing the listener, The Brakemen do it in a way that keeps the listener alert and engaged in the music.

Not only is this a great EP, but it is an independently released EP that sounds better, production-wise, than a lot of albums released by semi-major labels. The Brakemen put a great deal of work into this release and it shows.

Honestly, I still can’t believe this band hails from anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line, let alone the city that has been famous for its hardcore and Irish-punk. The Brakemen put out a great product that surprises the listener at every turn and blends the best of southern and northern into an EP that cannot go ignored this year.

-Scott Landis

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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