Lucky Number – 13th January
Graveyard of Good Times bares the cigarette burns and acne scars of its creation. Self-produced and mixed by Brandon Ayres, Brandon Can’t Dance’s debut dutifully rides the bumps and welts that the DIY approach invites. Quality ranges from polished, pristine punk to fizzy demo tape grunge, and while it creaks and cracks in places, the result is an undeniably fun slice of gothic pop.
Brandon’s 80s indie influences are draped all over Graveyard. Shoegaze glitters between slabs of fuzz on ‘Pop Queen of the Teen Scene’, and ironic narcissism drips from ‘So Deep, So Tortured, So Freak’ like black mascara. Graveyard’s sixteen tracks move at a lick, veering from the poisonous candy of ‘She Loves Anime’ to the chorus-bedraggled folk of ‘Fuck Off and We’ll Get Along’, which has Brandon sounding more Mac DeMarco than the man himself.
There are earworms, too. Opener ‘Headspace’ is a muscular hit with a bona fide hook, and ‘Greyhound Named Chelsea’ has an aching minor sweep of a chorus that feels honest and exposed compared to the electro poetry elsewhere on Graveyard. But a track list this deep has tail-off. ‘Rock Is Dead’ is unremarkable amongst the sparkling material, lacking guts in the vocals and failing to develop from a few simple ideas, and ‘The World Is Broken’ is too rough a cut for its own good. Both are saved by the Trust Fund-tent pole of ‘Angelina’ where Brandon gets to flex his musical chops a little on an otherwise reductive record.
Graveyard of Good Times is a likeable release that turns its half-baked moments into opportunities for insight. It’s easy to track its growth into being, from patchy garage jams to the genuine pop potential of its standout tracks, and the fact that these two facets often juxtapose one another becomes Graveyard’s biggest strength. With a tighter deadline and a scalpel to the filler, Brandon’s next record could be a great one.