Tsunami's records are usually excellent, but on A Brilliant Mistake they reached a new peak. This stroke of brilliance corresponds to the tragic end of the band's Simple Machines label after seven years of near-flawless production and indie rock mining. The band's earlier attempts at punk rock were often tedious at best, but with these 13 songs Tsunami put aside their punk ambitions and created a clean, cohesive record. On "Old Grey Mare," singer Jenny Toomey croons about the metaphorical, while two songs later, pulsing horns accompany her as she wails about struggling against the grain of mainstream society. A Brilliant Mistake is pure, mellifluous indie rock, the place where a genuine D.I.Y. ethos meets pure pop sensibility. As expected, the album is strewn with literary references, from a song dedicated to David Foster Wallace to odd lyrics reworking elements of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. This record is often brilliant but never a mistake.
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AllMusic Review by Marc Ruxin