Judging by the visual identity of this release and the name of the group, I was quite unsure I will ever enjoy this material. At first, I thought this is some power electronics, harsh noise, or any other similar extreme form of experimental avant-garde music. Thankfully, I was completely wrong about visual appearance, and once again, the situation proved I shouldn’t judge the book by its covers. Chinese Powerbank is a group comprised of James Milligan (guitar, vocals), Joe B Love (drums), and Giorgos Kravvaritis (bass synth, mixing, mastering). There are some additional members like Ozzy Moysey & Joel Stedman (tenor sax & bass clarinet), but they probably appear on a couple of compositions during the album. Considering the musical formation of the Chinese Powerbank, it seems like the group leans towards some experimental music, but additional instruments are giving a sort of seriousness to their musical expression.
Brain Pain! carries four longevous compositions, heavily inspired by various musical styles. Chinese Powerbank incorporates a broad specter of various genres, such as garage punk, punk rock, post-punk, post-rock, noise rock, psychedelic rock, space rock, surf rock, free jazz, leftfield and experimental. As you can notice, there’s something for everyone and the Chinese Powerbank constantly evolves into something greater as the recording proceeds towards the end. Perhaps noise rock, garage punk, and post-punk are the most notable ingredients that are continuously lurking throughout the album. Still, the remaining portion of the beforementioned elements is interlacing here and there. Everything depends on the current situation, circumstances, and mood of the involved musicians. Chinese Powerbank keeps everything within boundaries of entertainment, dynamics, and experimental aesthetics, but also goes into extremes at some points.
The group also deals with loads of improvisations and free jazz. Their music is mostly uniformed, stable and precise. However, sometimes their musical maneuvers are straying into chaos and cacophony. Brain Pain! progresses into well-planned nonsense, flirts with a dadaist approach to sound, but gradually returns on its primary direction. Brain Pain! is an unpredictable journey, fully stacked with catchy experimental moments and hidden surprises. After all, the band stated that Brain Pain! is an album inspired by punk rock, surf rock, free improvisation, and Communist power giving machinery. This material exactly sounds like that statement. Brain Pain! comes on a limited compact disc with a xerox printed cover artwork. It’s available directly from
Polyscope, so head over to their Bandcamp page for more information about ordering.