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We’ll say it—Baby Bry Bry & The Apologists are shaping up to be the D.C. DIY community’s Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The latest member of the band to go solo is guitarist Nick Anway, whose debut EP as Brushes falls squarely on the “lounge” side of Bry Bry’s winking genre of lounge-punk.
Guided by Tommy Sherrod’s production, Whatever, Again—out tomorrow on local label Odessa Madre Tapes—is seven deft tracks of woozy guitar rock, with detours into heavier feedback squalls and gauzy ‘80s nostalgia, the latter best heard on opening track “Heads Are Weak.” There’s even a little rock-star posturing, just for fun—the title of EP highlight “Thought I’d Call (Cuz You’re Callin’)” suggests a slacker love song; instead we get a few strutting verses before a heel turn into sharper-elbowed psych.
Plus, as the EP makes immediately clear, Anway can sing circles around lesser guitar-bro contemporaries who shrug off their lyrics like they’re already embarrassed by them. A less-restrained album would abuse this privilege, sticking Anway’s vocals in the front and thoroughly killing the vibe; instead, Sherrod wraps them in velvet and sits them in the back, the reverb only abating when it really counts. The results: songs that alternately sound like they’re read over a high school intercom, (“Whatever, Again”) or shouted across a very wide valley (“Thought I’d Call”), or beamed from a subterranean ‘80s-era prom (“Heads Are Weak”).
One of the highlights of attending a Baby Bry Bry gig is the prevailing feeling that the gang onstage, however playfully, were 100 percent dedicated to their schtick—suits, purple armbands, and all. Whatever, Again is more earnest—and more sophisticated—than its Mac DeMarco-esque title suggests; Brushes, thankfully, shares his former project’s same lack of tolerance for ironic indie-rock detachment. We’ll leave it to you to pair The Apologists’ members with its CSNY counterparts, but let’s hope we get more new music from the collective soon.
Brushes play a cassette release show with the Nighttime Adventure Society on Saturday at 7 p.m. More info here.