Arts & Entertainment

Canadian band wraps wordplay in sound

Life for the guys in Brasstronaut is a bunch of happy coincidences to this point.

Singer, songwriter and keyboardist Edo Van Breemen randomly met Bryan Davies at a farewell party for a mutual friend five years ago. The two Vancouver, British Columbia, natives quickly started performing instrumental sets in their neighborhoods.

Davies enrolled in the music program at Vancouver Community College and met double-bass guitarist John Walsh and drummer Brennan Saul.

"Up to that point, Bryan and I played small shows in restaurants and things," Van Breemen said. "We were pretty much instrumental up until that point. There was an offer to open for some bigger local bands and we needed to get our stuff together, so we added the drummer and bassist."

Van Breemen and his then-girlfriend happened to know the band Japandroids and liked the idea of a compound name, creating Brasstronaut.

The group released their EP Old World Lies in Canada, gaining relative success. It was released in the states on June 2, and Tri-City fans can catch live performances from the album at 9 p.m. June 13 at The Red Room in Kennewick.

In January, the band was granted winter residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, where they recorded their full-length album, due out in October.

"It was like going to Narnia for music," Van Breemen said. "We weren't working, we were hanging out with amazing musicians. We had all day, every day to make music for 2 1/2 months, so it accommodated recording new songs and reworking some of our older material. It was a really nice break from our routine in Vancouver."

The new album is more representative of their sound as a band, with more rhythmic attributes that are more prevalent throughout the album.

"It's definitely written with pop hooks and choruses, but on the album we're exploring a few different kind of styles," Van Breemen said. "There's one instrumental called The Wind. I wrote it for my friend Jason who just had a baby girl. It's pretty varied; it's no means a concept album."

This time around, the songs are more personal and resonate intellect.

"There's two bonafide breakup songs," Van Breemen admitted. "One's sort of an ode to Ernest Hemingway. There's another one I wrote called Hearts Trumpet. It's got kind of a soul, Otis Rettig-type of feel."

Fans of Old World Lies will be pleasantly surprised to know that tracks Fan and Insect will be remixed and appear on the upcoming album.

"We've reworked the song Fan, so it kind of became an Afro-beat song, but it has lyrics," Van Breemen said. "Insects is a song about the downtowny side and poverty in east Vancouver and people being pushed slowly out of their neighborhoods by gentrification, in part associated with the Olympics coming here."

When they're not recording, the guys venture out on their own projects. Van Breemen produces another band called The Clips and started a new electronic production called Resorts. Walsh plays with indie-folk artist Dan Mangan. Davies plays with Tanga, a 12 piece Afro-Cuban band.

"I have a lot of personal connections with the music market in Canada," Van Breemen said. "But it's like, the states is this giant black hole to me. I don't know how things operate. We've never been to Kenenwick, but we've been camping in Yakima. I think we're going to like it."

Tickets for the show are $6 in advance, $8 at the door.

For more information, go to www.myspace.com/brasstronaut.

*Bethany Lee: 582-1465; blee@tricityherald.com

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