The Briefs has recently re-released their 2000 debut 'Hit After Hit' on BYO Records in order to mark the label’s 100th release. Along with their again re-released 2004 third full release 'Sex Objects', this is a return to musical basics. This feature takes the form of a written double-helix as it intertwines these two albums, where similarities can be examined and contrasts compared.

Apparently the band members aren’t sure where they came from, when or why they formed but at least they know enough to remember their names; Daniel J Travanti (vocals, guitar), Chris Brief (vocals, drums), Steve E. Nix (vocals, guitar) and Lance Romance (vocals, bass). Looking at the Briefs’ CD packaging, one would have thought that these were re-releases from the late 70s or early 80s, just after punk first took root, rather than recent creations. The music somewhat supports this also, even if it is a touch more melodic than music from that distinctive era. Given the similarity of the two that form the object of this review, one can only presume second record, 'Off The Charts' (2003), and also soon to be the subject of a re-release, is similar in appearance and sound.

'Sex Objects' makes a good case for being classified as a politically motivated album as, on several occasions, it explores political themes. Opening track, 'Orange Alert' looks at the American codes given to levels of danger, more recently attributed to potential terrorist attacks. One can feel the song mocking the introduction of the codes as it surveys citizens’ fears and the nonsensical effect they have on increasing those fears. 'Destroy The USA' jibes further at the band’s homeland: “destroy the USA, hey, hey, George started anyway, OK!” and starts the work that 'No More Presidents' finishes, by outlining reasons why the band believes the most important position in world politics should no longer exist. Making up for a good percentage of 'Sex Objects', The Briefs’ political agenda is nowhere to be seen on the earlier 'Hit After Hit' and indicates the band’s changing focus.

This is all punctuated by the tolerably esophoric 'Mystery Pill' and 'Shoplifting At Macy’s'. 'Hit After Hit' also moves into this terrain, with the unexplainable 'Dolly Parton', that consists, lyrically, of the words Dalai Lama repeated several times and fragmented inexplicably by the name Dolly Parton. This is furthered by 'I’m A Raccoon' that, despite it putting itself in an excellent position to satirise and dejectedly failing to do so, increases the nonsensicality of some of the record. But be not mistaken, for this nonsensicality is invigorating.

Although the lyrics can be hard to make out at times, reducing their impact somewhat, and both digipaks help no further as the lyrics aren’t included with either: one often wonders whether punk has something to hide. Of course this is far from the case, being as the genre is one of the most open in existence. Mutually, 'Hit After Hit' and 'Sex Objects' are musically balanced, accessible to all, not just the punk adherents. Displaying such ability to create reachable musical will certainly do no harm to The Briefs.

Both 'Sex Objects' and 'Hit After Hit' are easy to listen to. There is no aggression, no obvious transgression but plenty of digression from meaningful lyrical material, even if there is plenty of that on offer too. All four band members add their voices to the records, helping to momentarily embolden the feel of some sections and polish off these ultra-modern reincarnations of what is closest to some of the punk of old, which stand pretty much alone on their own.

BYO Records have done us a service in re-releasing some of The Briefs’ material and have chosen the ideal model as the tribute to their years of punk dedication.

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