Brice: Cabin Capers

Cabin Capers

You can't help but wonder what sort of "cabin capers" Brice is referring to. Perhaps a few strategically placed dead minnows in the toe of a cabin mate's boot. Maybe a late-night swap of a buddy's mosquito repellant with the contents of a can of Pam. Listening to Cabin Capers, the new release from local goof-rockers Brice, you can just picture these guys guffawing as they conspire to commit the kind of high jinks mentioned above. Throughout the 10 songs on this album, there's a thread of quirky playfulness that both amuses and endears this band to you.

Brice's frenetic, schizophrenic approach to pop-song structures is most reminiscent of Weezer or a slightly more straight-ahead They Might Be Giants. For example, on "Bronty," they initially pull you in with some lulling, bass-driven, nothing-fancy pop, but then lurch into choppy, start-and-stop guitar and drum work, finally building to a swirling mass of heavily textured melodies à la the Foo Fighters. This spastic approach to song dynamics, heard throughout Cabin Capers, is smoothed over by the nasally sweet vocal harmonies of Bill Blaszczak, Jon Drankwalter, and Andy Gustafson. None of these guys have voices with much strength or depth, but together they're long on giddy charm.

It would be a stretch to call Brice a "cool" rock band. There's no swagger or smoldering sexuality. What they are is a very, very good rock band. Their stellar musicianship sneaks up on you slowly. Guitarist Brad Thompson's clean and bright guitar work is seriously busy and seriously impressive. It's a bit like that of John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, just without the funk. And when Drankwalter whips out his trumpet on the disco-flavored "True Love," you find yourself quietly nodding, with that sort of "Hell, yeah!" satisfaction. It might take you a while to let go of the notion that the five guys in Brice are anything more than just a bunch of snickering geeks. But you will.

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