I admit I have a soft spot for Whatever Brains, not just ‘cause they’re “weird,” but because they’re ambitious in their weirdness. This release is a fine example of what I mean—two distinct EPs packaged as one, identified as SSR-63 and SSR-64, respectively. The second EP is the more conventional of the two, with four tunes showcasing their usual synth-laden noise mongering. The first, however, is a different beast entirely. According to SorryState’s website, it is comprised of “A series of linked compositions a la Venom’s At War with Satan or the Subhumans’ From the Cradle to the Grave, SSR-63’s lyrics chronicle the plight of a Russian family who lived in complete isolation in remote Siberia for more than forty years.” These linked compositions, which meld from one into the next, vary wildly in tone, texture, and attack—one minute you’ve got post-punk, next you’re into some minimalist synth, then quieter acoustic passages, and then you’re off on a hypnotic groove-skronk trip, and so on, stretched out over two sides of a 12” and clocking in at a total of roughly twenty minutes and change. It’s a worthwhile ride, with enough engaging twists and turns in delivery to keep one from losing interest, and impressive in scope.
–jimmy (Sorry State)