brp. – Uppercut Uppercut
Brp. is another high-school band that is managing to hold out together after graduation… somewhat. Actually, it was a bit hard to follow exactly who’s in the band right now but it’s safe to say that the nucleus of members, guitarist Tyler Conn and drummer Jack Stolz, has remained intact. The band has been around since 2001, releasing an album in 2003, Top of the Line 1984, a title nearly as indecipherable as the band name (is it “burp,” or what’s the period for?). The band was admittedly not happy with the results of that album and soon hooked up with Jake Johnson at Paradyme Productions.
After some lineup changes the boys were lucky enough to land Dan Schmuhl from Zero to Sixty Never as their bassist and lead singer. It’s this trio that recorded this Uppercut Uppercut EP. Since then they have also added former Face the Grave guitarist Luke Severson. The combination of members from these bands, who each had their own significant followings in the all-ages scene, along with some very ambitious touring seems to be paying off for brp. as they are accumulating fans by the hundreds if their myspace page is a reliable indicator.
Uppercut Uppercut also includes a video, and a fairly well-done one at that, featuring the track “What We’ve Become.” The video reveals that this is one of those bands that flail about furiously onstage, which often signals the need to make uninteresting music more interesting by playing it very hard, very fast and keeping the audience in suspense as to whether one of the guitarists will cold cock the other with an unintended headstock smash to the temple. brp. make no bones about the fact that their primary intention is to have fun and the video is exactly that.
Musically, the tune “What We’ve Become” is a typical post-pubescent romp with a too-fast tempo and a predictable melody line. These traits are also what make the pop/punk genre so monotonous (thank you, Green Day). The rest of the EP, unsurprisingly, also falls into this trap, with each track sounding much like the one that precedes it. To their credit, brp. add some progressive elements into the arrangements; this is not typical verse-chorus stuff. All the members sing and so there is some nice harmonization, although it’s very sporadic and punctuated. There is certainly an abundance of heart in the delivery of these high-energy tunes and Stolz is a monster on the drums.
Uppercut Uppercut is very well recorded and plays with merciless intensity. The sometimes jagged stops/starts are precise and the mix is well balanced. brp. have a lot going for them but will need to distinguish themselves a lot more in a crowded genre dominated by like-aged youths and hundreds of bands all playing the same song.