Most of my youth was spent in the 1980s. I remember when the Nintendo Entertainment System arrived, signaling the end of the Atari/Colecovision dominance of the home gaming market. I also remember begging my parents for the gaming system. They kept saying no, I kept insisting until one Christmas (I forget the year). It was the end of the day, all of the gifts had seemingly already been consumed until I found a note sticking out of the tree's branches telling me to go downstairs.
There it was! I remember playing Super Mario Brothers until the wee hours of the morning, that theme song burned into my mind. Those were the days, playing Mario and other classics with there immediately identifiable bleepy music.
What does that memory have to do with Super 8-Bit Brothers, you ask? Well, think about the name and imagine what their music may sound like. That's right! The tunes of Brawl evoke memories of those 8-bit game soundtracks of the past. The distinctive sounds greet you and draw you in right from the start with the opening tune "Cyberspace Sirens/Computer Casanovas." The song comes complete with catchy 8-bit beats and gaming/computer inspired lyrics.
I never imagined there would be such a group as this. I guess I should not be surprised, the sound is rather distinctive and apparently has plenty of uses outside of old school games. Now, this is not the first act I have listened to to use 8-bit synth as a major part of their around, although they do make the most extensive use of it. In my order of experience they come on the heels of HORSE the Band. The difference is that HORSE is a much harder edged act that make strong use of the synth but surround it with experimental metal. Super 8-Bit Brothers are much more dancehall in their sound and focus more on the synth sound.
Super 8-Bit Brothers are a little outside of my normal fare, but I have to admit there is a definite charm in their sound and a catchiness in their beats. They do not sound like a gimmick. You have to admit, the idea of a group focusing on 8-bit synth sounds like it would be a gimmick, right? Yes, I guess there is an element of gimmick to these guys, what with the gamer-inspired lyrics and some game-like beats, but overall they stand up to the naysayers and prove themselves a worthy addition to the musical landscape. Of course, I may just not know what I am talking about, this is, after all, a different style for me.
The sound is like a cross of NES console games blended with the likes of Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, and Devo. Definitely an odd mix, but cool nonetheless. It is a sound that once you start playing it, others will appear, get groovy and then ask you what exactly it is they are hearing. By then they will be hooked.
While the entire album is pretty darn good, there are tracks that you will want to pay attention to. "Shadow of Me" strikes me as a little like Daft Punk with NIN and is very catchy. "2600 Refugee" opens strong with a mid-tempo groove and has a nice sleepy quality to it. "8 Bit Lullaby" may be my favorite song, it has a child-like attraction with its even rhythmic pattern. You cannot go wrong with the likes of "Goodbye Cruel World (or Warcraft)" and the synthetic island rhythms of "Don't Sell the Barrels to the Monkey." Finally don't forget the mash that is the title track "Brawl."
Bottomline. Not my normal speed, but I love the style, the strong execution, and the likability of the album as a whole. If you are into dance/electronic music, check this out. If you are a gamer with a taste for the old school, this is for you.