Brix and The Extricated: Part 2

review brix x1 cong

Many of the albums we get sound like music that came before; Mumfords, Jesus and Mary Chain, the usual suspects. This debut from Brix and The Extricated goes back further, to the days of indie labels and punk, with opener Pneumatic Violet channelling the Buzzcocks with a splash of the earthier Magazine. Even the lyrics go back to the early indie sound, where bands delivered the basics: “You will pay for your action / No-one gets a retraction.” There’s a shouted “I was dead before you were born” at one point, the kind of thing early indie fans loved.

The Brix of the title is former wife of The Fall’s Mark E Smith, Brix Smith Start and she has had a colourful life, meeting Smith somewhere glamorous in the States and moving with him to his squalid cat-filled flat in Manchester where he kept milk on the outside window ledge rather than the fridge.

We never bought into The Fall, the cacophonic ramblings of an incoherent and bad-tempered boozer (sorry, “great British eccentric”) never revealing their charms. (Though RIP Mark). While Brix and The Extricated do sound a bit Fall-ish in places, overall, it’s far more melodic. As well as Buzzcocks, there’s something of Blondie’s sound on here, too.

In recent years, Smith Start has (according to Wikipedia) run a small chain of boutiques, appeared as a fashion expert on British television shows, including Channel 4’s Gok’s Fashion Fix, as well as Animal Planet UK’s Top Dog and The Culture Show on BBC2. Not the kind of person you’d expect to produce an album that sounds fresh while celebrating the early days of indie.

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