The Michigan Daily discovered in February of 2007 that several articles written by arts writer Devika Daga did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other sources. The article below contains several passages from opuszine.com, and the Daily no longer stands by its content.

Trevor Campbell
So emo he writes songs in graveyards. (Courstesy of Anticon)

In another life, Bracken’s founder Chris Adams was the co-captain of the U.K. experimentalist group Hood. In what seems like a true reincarnation, the Leeds native returns to the music scene as a less-soused version of The Books with his first album We Know About the Need.

Adams’s debut treads the rarely walked line between electronic and organic, and often it can make for a frustrating listen. Indeed, it seems like Adams is interested in seeing just how far he can push his laptop to distort and fracture his sound banks, to send them skittering around scattershot-like. Given Adams’s own description of the Bracken project as “an attempt to sound exactly like a pop band being frozen solid and then shattered into a million pieces,” this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

But upon closer inspection, the glitch-addled elements of We Know About the Need tend to blend together into a mass of twitching, shivering sound. When Adams harnesses all of the epileptic rhythms and puts them in the service of actual songs, the results can be quite fascinating.

In the lead track, “Of Athroll Slains,” for example, Adams throws the listener headfirst into a head-nodding beat textured with bloops, beeps and squelches of strings. His weary voice comes through in the background and accentuates the heavy bass and orchestra. The beauty of the track lies not in Adams’s lyrics – which are hardly decipherable – but in his ability to hold each sound together.

Shards of a kaleidoscopic guitar bounce around within “Fight Or Flight’s” framework, dancing about like light reflections on a darkened bedroom wall and lending the song a unique airiness.

“Back On the Calder Line” winds down the album with its most haunting moments, bits of guitar caught in a downward spiral that circle around Adams’s tentative voice. The song as a whole strikes a mournful tone heightened by a wavering organ and vocal cries evoke scenes from Middle Eastern minarets and bazaars.

There are moments where the lines between all of these fascinating snippets simply blur together, turning into something out of focus, indistinct and smudged. Depending on your mood, We Know About the Need could be impenetrable and obtuse – or completely ephemeral and otherworldly.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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