B Bro's (Terrestrial Tones mix)
I think the spelling of this single is important. I have seen many reviews where it has been spelt Bros, with no apostrophe. Spelt thus, as if to rhyme with gloss, it brings back uncomfortable memories of people wearing Grolsch bottle tops on their shoes. Bro's, with apostrophe, and pronounced to rhyme with hose, not only accords with the spelling on the sleeve, but also chimes with the sentiment of the song, being an ode penned for Panda Bear's 'brothers', as in 'homeys' or 'crew'.
Why then it begins with an owl sample I have no idea, but it does. Maybe it's just a pun on being a part of Animal Collective? There's even a picture of an owl at the beginning of the video, which you can watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GQCVOLbRU8.
So, there's the owl noise, swiftly followed by a joyous assemblage of percussion and guitar loops, that manage to sound both modern and primeval at the same time. Over this float the vocals, and reverb-drenched and heavily Beach Boys-influenced as they are, they work well with this odd backing. This is a complete turnaround from the sparse, reflective style of Young Prayer, and has more in common with some of AC's faster, crazier output. An interview on Pitchfork's site reveals two contributing factors to the change. Firstly, he moved to Portugal some time ago, and secondly, all he took with him was a sampler. He's used the sampler to great effect in building up the loops that the song gets its incredible momentum from, but less well with the random noises that pop up now and again. Alongside the owl, there are the sounds of sobbing, muttering, and trains, seemingly thrown willy-nilly into the mix. It's a minor complaint though, and the song races through the distractions like a blinkered horse.
The Fat Cat site tells us that Bro's was originally two different songs, mixed into one for the release. You can tell this quite clearly from the song itself, as about 6 minutes in more rhythm tracks enter, some of the percussion loops collide, and new heavily-delayed guitar loops come in. The Brain Wilson-esque vocals never return after the first half either. Instead you get cut-up vocals and loops which don't make any sense at all. There are some interesting moments of multi-tracked delayed guitar split between the speakers, but not enough to really sustain the listeners interest. If the record had started with this section it would have been much poorer, I think only the momentum created in the first half carries it through the second, and as it stands I think it's a gem.
Terrestrial Tones, being Avey Tare of AC and Eric Copeland of Black Dice, deliver a very thin mix of the song. They've taken out all the joy and exuberance of the first half of the song, and composed something almost entirely out of time-stretched vocals and plink-plonk musical-box synth sounds. The first two verses play out over the top of this, and are joined by an annoying two-note bassline (which is not itself a bass noise like a bass guitar would make but something sampled and pitch-shifted down to be bass-y).
Things do get a little more interesting towards the end, where after an instrumental passage there are some nice dub-style cutting up, in, and out of the vocals and rhythm loops, and some odd percussion, and things start to get noticeably louder and more menacing. It then ends, seeming to have taken twice as long as the main track, whilst only being half the length. Some kind of physics prize might well be in order.
The album Person Pitch, which Bro's is on, comes highly recommended, and can be purchased from the Paw Tracks shop.