(2013 Yes Please Records)
Buy the album here.
Brett Newski and the Corruption will perform May 3rd at the Frequency.
Those who’ve been in Madison for a few years – and have been paying attention – will recognize the name Brett Newski from his former band the Nod, which was together from 2008-2011. The Nod released three albums, Shoddy Heart (2009), Easy, Maverick (2010) and Tomorrow Compadre (2011). Tomorrow Compadre was released the day of the band’s farewell show at the Memorial Union Terrace in July of 2011 and the next day Newski boarded a plane for Bangkok. What happens next is a story of adventure and opportunities that resulted in his forming a new group, Brett Newski and the Corruption (You can read the feature story at “Local Sounds” on Madison Magazine). The Corruption is based in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and is comprised of British drummer Matt Green and Canadian bassist Jeffro Ganter. The alternative rock that the band generates has gone down well with the locals and should go down equally well here.
The album is ten pop songs, none of which eclipse the four-minute mark. All are catchy as hell, with hooky choruses, driving guitars and clever lyrics that prove the band don’t take themselves too seriously. Two of the tracks are re-workings from In-Between Exits, a solo album Newski recorded, also while in Southeast Asia.
Comparisons to bands like Weezer, the Strokes and the Pixies have been made but there are also traces of early Bowie as exemplified in songs like “New York Apartment” and especially the vocal doubling on “In Between Exists.” There’s a video for the former, shot is Vietnam in a makeshift oven constructed from PVC piping. The oven concept is taken from the song’s primary lyric, “Last night I slept inside the oven / Waiting for you to turn me on.”
“Sundog,” a song about a dog’s loyalty leans toward the country side of alt-pop. “Wet Pavement” is a highlight with an ultra-catchy chorus line: “Loan me all your love / I swear I’ll pay it back.” The track also has a cool guitar solo. “Saigon Smog” is the track that draws Strokes comparisons. There are a couple of references to Wisconsin. “Eau Claire” looks toward an eventual homecoming while “Right now, I really don’t got anywhere I gotta be.” The albums closer, the oddly-titled “Buenos Aires!,” finds Newski intoning, “On the streets of Saigon all the mayhem makes me sane / All the comforts of Wisconsin are a memory in my brain.”
Sonically the album is very well done. Keyboards (played by Newski) flitter about adding just the right amount of spice. The mix is clear and full and there are few gimmicks, just straight-ahead alternative rock that will have you pushing “replay.”
Newski is stateside once again and the Corruption have come to America to do a U.S. tour beginning at the Frequency in Madison on May 3rd. There are no immediate plans for Newski to return to Asia but there are possibilities the band may follow up Tiny Victories with another album. That would be fortunate as Newski is on to something here that, in some alternate universe, would get loads of radio play.