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Review: Brick + Mortar, 'Bangs' EP

Brick and Mortar Bangs EP

From opening for acts like Jimmy Eat World and Awolnation to having one of their tunes remixed by "Harlem Shake" guru Baauer, Asbury Park duo Brick + Mortar are definitely one of the best acts coming out of New Jersey right now. The duo, which consists of vocalist/guitarist Brandon Asraf and drummer John Tacon, have been a strong fixture in the booming Asbury Park music scene and have branched out of the Garden State with some East Coast touring and a recent performance at this year's Lollapalooza festival. New York-based Photo Finish Records seems pretty fitting for the duo's indie/electronic offering; this is the same record label that released albums from chiptune rockers I Fight Dragons and platinum selling hip hop/electronic duo 3OH!3.

Brick + Mortar's new Bangs EP is their way of thanking old fans and welcoming new ones into the pack. The seven-song release features three tunes from last year's "Making Moves" 7-inch and 2011's Heatstroke EP: surf rock track "Old Boy", the title-track for "Heatstroke" and "Bangs", a tough as nails electronic powerhouse that could easily be used as the theme song for the next James Bond movie.

Mixed with those fan favorites are four brand new cuts to wet everyone's appetite until the band's next release. The new numbers find the duo digging deeper in their musical competence and delivering a vigorous display of songwriting. Many would agree that these tracks are some of the strongest in their arsenal. "Locked In A Cage" is a song simply about being trapped whether it's being stuck in a dead-end job or on the highway. "No I Won't Go" strolls through with hip hop beats while Brandon touches the topic of addiction via the character Black Forest Cherry. "Keep This Place Beautiful" starts off with dreamy synths before deep and grimy basslines slowly descent like a gargantuan spacecraft. Armed with an explosive chorus aided by Brandon's soaring vocals, the song is a much needed shot of positivity in a world full of madness with lyrics like "Oh, we could change the world/ yeah, we could change the world/ we could turn all the bad things into good things if we just try". EP closer "Terrible Things" is one of the more accessible newer tunes from the duo. Backed by John Tacon's elite approach with the sticks, Brandon discusses the natural urge of doing, you guessed it, terrible things. Just like "Old Boy", the song is definitely built for the live crowd with the lines "Give it up / Give it up, now" delicately sprinkled through the tune's massive bridge. Fans of Imagine Dragons, Sleigh Bells and Awolnation will certainly find themselves hooked on the Asbury Park duo. Brick + Mortar's new Bangs EP is out right now.