Brasstronaut // Mean Sun // Out Now // Tin Angel Records
In case you missed it, a couple of months ago, daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of our world to land in the desert. Unquestionably it was a huge feat, both scientifically and in terms of human endeavour.
For anyone who saw Felix ascending, and then waiting (for over two hours!) before leaping out into the ozone layer and thought “Why isn't he listening to some music?” Brasstronaut’s latest album, 'Mean Sun', would have been a suitable choice.
As a collection of inspiring and uplifting songs, the bands second album could add a sense of grandeur to any occasion, not that Felix’s needed it. With a name like Brasstranaut, and an album entitled in such a way, the suitability for comparison to Baumgartner’s jump is more than reasonable.
Jazz, pop and rock are the genres that clash to create Brasstronaut, yet the album suggests that something bigger is going on. The band appears to have developed their understanding of electronica here. As such, the production makes 'Mean Sun' more of a rounded, and absorbing experience than anything to date.
In ‘Moonwalker’, a tender fusion of jazz and electronica, Edo Van Breemen talks of leaving footprints and contemplating moments, this is certainly reflective music. Emotions run high throughout the album, although most of it is vague, and hard to pin down. This adds to the appeal of a band who are hard to pigeon-hole.
The opener, 'Bounce', is as beautiful as it is enchanting. Drum rolls underpin most of it, pointing to a drama that, oddly, seems to sit comfortably beneath the delicate humming and softly spoken lyrics. Most of the rest of the album carries on like this, sounding like a soundtrack for a celebration of mankind’s greatest endeavours.
There is one moment, half way through 'Mix Tape' where Van Breemen sings ‘You send me out to sea’ in the exact tone and style of Sigur Ros.
Indeed the two bands create a similar mood, and whilst the Icelandic group are more renowned for eye-watering evocation of the senses, 'Mean Sun' is more subtle, yet no less poignant in its own way.
Falklands is a happier tune that strolls along like something by Kings Of Convenience, before swelling up in a fashion that would suit featuring in a James Bond movie.
'Mean Sun' is a truly wonderful album that spans many genres, evokes emotion and is very memorable. If Mr. Baumgartner plans to break his record in a few years time, 'Mean Sun' is an album that should stand the test of time and be used as an accompaniment to it.
8.5 out of 10