New Jersey’s Brick + Mortar – comprised of band mates Brandon Asraf and John Tacon – is the perfect example of the modern radio-ready indie pop sound that fills the playlists and soundtracks the summers of many a teenager in the year 2017. The duo has been busy the past few years releasing a string of dance-y, upbeat singles on various independent labels, playing a creative showcase set at SXSW Music Festival, and becoming known for their energetic live set up and down the coast of New England. Their recent release, “Dropped Again,” is a compilation of songs released over the past couple of years on various EPs, remastered and packaged together as one effusively catchy release that results in a big splash of adrenaline and fun.
“I wanna take the train with you / I wanna run away with you,” declares Asraf on the opening track and single, “Train.” His desire to be constantly on the move is captured fervently throughout the album, the fast-paced lyrics bouncing infectiously overtop glitchy electronic samples that create Brick + Mortar’s defining sound. Another highlight is “Move the Ocean,” a swaggering stadium salute to those who aspire to be more than the monotony of everyday routine coerces them into accepting. The album closes with “Great Escape,” perhaps the ballad lingering shyly amidst the rest of the party, where Asraf sings “If love is the truth / then hate is the lie / stuck in your head on repeat.” This is just a brief example of the lyrical insights that pepper the album in between the structured, glittering, electronica vibes the NJ duo has expertly crafted at this point.
Overall, “Dropped Again” offers everything you’d expect from a modern take on indie pop, but with an added degree of thoughtfulness that makes Brick + Mortar a current highlight for those looking for a lively, yet whimsical boost to their playlist. The band has stated that their goal in making music has been to “spread a message of empathy, positivity, and self-motivation.” Their latest release is indeed just that: a burst of color that paints smiles with sound, a gleaming diversion aimed to brighten your day.
Brick + Mortar will be performing at the Woodward Theatre in Cincinnati on Saturday, July 29th with support from Yoke Lore, Toon Town, and Jess Lamb & the Factory.