Share THE BRITANNICAS - The Britannicas (Kool Kat Musik)
Hark back to the first half of the '80s when guitar pop, in its many manifestations, was poised to set the world right again. No need to name names but you'll recall the contenders…and where we've all ended up 20 years later. The Britannicas want to make it yesterday - and the irony is that they're using today's technology to do it.
The Britannicas are Swede Magnus Karlsson (The Charade), American Herb Eimerman (Nerk Twins) and Australian Joe Algeri (Jack And The Beanstalk.) THey met at a Popoverthrow festival in 1998 and haven't seen each other since. Their debut album was recorded (in analogue) in their respective countries using song parts worked out over the Internet, and pieced together via snail-mailed CD-Rs.
The Britainnicas make no bones about checking all the classic boxes. And nor should they. There's enough Byrds to fill an aviary ("Stars" and "Those Good Vibrations" to name two) and the name Big Star is writ large enough to make the biggest fan of Memphis blue-eyed soul swoon ("Blue Sky Grey", "Good Luck" and just about everything else).
Karlsson straps on the guitar, Eimerman the bass and Algeri hops behind the kit but those core roles are supplemented depending on who's most adept at adding something else. Harmonica, vibraphone, mandolin, clarinet and keyboards are all roped into the game. Algeri's multi-instrumental role is most prominent, while all three handle vocals. If Joe's name rings a bell, it's because he's been on the Perth pop circuit for 20-something years.
The Britannicas play lilting and pleasant pop rather than forceful rockers, and it probably doesn't get much better than on opening gambit "Those Good Vibrations". "Stars" has a great melody that's highlighted to best effect. "The Other Side" pushes the levers to lush psychedelica with some subtle backward-masking.
If there's a criticism it's that the songs of The Britanicas are just too nice. Sometimes when you're being buoyed along by all this open-chord goodness you wish for just one slight lapse of judgement or escalation into unruliness to prevent your boat from washing up on the sands of La-La Land. An external producer might have helped - or they might have trampled over this. It's pretty much a moot point. If you enjoy The Britannicas for what they are, chances are you'll be well rewarded. - The Barman
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