Hy Brasil Stuns With Animal’s Grace EP
Hy Brasil’s Animal’s Grace is dreamy and spacey alternative rock done right, channelling a certain energy that swirls the melancholia of Radiohead, the darker edge of The Cure, and the dreamy pop sensibilities of The Killers. It’s a record that is as modest as it is spectacular, swirling together a glitzy rock and pop sound that is supplemented by a display of skill rather than high octane energy. It’s the perfect oxymoron of pomp and sensibility, but for a skilled band as low-key and underground as Hy Brasil they certainly deserve some more love.
“Drive It Like You Stole It” is a fantastic opening, with Wyatt Hull’s voice blaring right at the onset and showing off his vocals which indeed do sound like a freak mashup of Thorn Yorke and Robert Smith (“freak” said endearingly of course). Hull’s vocals glide softly over the band’s accompaniment, which is a glistening yet mild soundscape that certainly makes for a great night drive soundtrack, whether or not you stole something. The band makes a good point to show off right at the onset one of their greatest assets; Moraza’s harp sequences elevate the track and the entire EP beyond dreamy, perhaps even spacey, in fact ‘nirvana’ might be the best way to describe it. It’s as if The Killers’ Sam’s Town was rewritten for a baptism.
And this angelic sound doesn’t stop in track two with “Tight Rope,” and what a massive track this is. Yes, the chorus is catchy, the song writing is on point, and the entire instrumental sounds heavenly, but can we please talk about that harp? The way it sonically sparkles and embellishes the verses as the song progresses is just succulent, an atmospheric nuance that elevates this track to immense heights. This solid cut is nowhere near complete without Moraza’s twinkling goodness, and with perhaps the biggest chorus on the entire record, “Tight Rope” is an absolute masterpiece that we could definitely see catapult Hy Brasil into success.
The titular “Animal’s Grace,” followed by “Walk Away” on tracks three four are both atmospheric tracks that carry on the energy of the EP, driving forth a more steady rock sound compared to its first two tracks. The latter sounds like the theme song for an 80’s action movie, its shoegazing and gloomier vibe complemented tremendously by the compelling synths before spinning into a raucous yet ethereal chorus. Though not as massive in scope as “Tight Rope,” “Walk Away” is just as ready for the radio, featuring one of the EP’s tighter instrumentals with a chorus that still roars as ferociously.
“Chilling Me Softly” on track five is a great ending to a fantastic EP, which should already win points for its clever song title. It’s got the most gothic energy on an album that already veers more towards the colder side of electronic and alternative music, and for a finale it’s sonically theatric and epic. The harp solo at the end drives an eerie, gargoylic feel that is oddly absent from the rest of the EP, although that only makes this finale all the more special.
For a band that is relatively underground, Hy Brasil’s Animal’s Grace is phenomenal. A tighter production quality would only serve to make this EP just that much more sensational, but that’s actually a menial concern considering how the band is already doing so many things right. For a sound that is relatively low-energy, the technical prowess and nuanced soundscape is showy and magnificent, and while it’s a character trait that Hy Brasil need not maintain, it certainly serves their quiet yet grand demeanour well. Finally, and it’s worth stating again, but “Tight Rope” is magnificent, and I certainly hope to hear it playing triumphantly on the radio one day. If this band from Ventura, California is not yet on your radar, Animal’s Grace should give you every reason to keep an eye on them now.