Other People's Problems

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Bretón's debut album, Other People's Problems, often feels like the next step in dubstep's journey to ubiquity. Where artists like SBTRKT and James Blake developed a more personal, song and vocals-oriented side to the sound, groups like Nedry and Bretón go a step further, incorporating a rock band feel into dubstep's moody template. Of course, by the time of Other People's Problems' release, you-got-your-rock-in-my-electronic-music/you-got-your-electronic-music-in-my-rock hybrids weren't exactly new, and Bretón recall a more streamlined Klaxons, Metronomy, or onetime tourmate Tom Vek as often as they do James Blake. Frontman Roman Rappak's half-singing, half-talking vocals, which are decidedly indie-sounding no matter how sleek their surroundings get, are something of an acquired taste (the female singer on "2 Years" seems to be there to emphasize just how marble-mouthed Rappak's delivery is). Indeed, while electro-rock isn't new, it's still challenging to pull off, and at times Bretón sound more concerned with getting it right than they are with making it interesting. "The Commission" and "Edward the Confessor" sound suitably dark and moody, and "Ghost Note"'s dense vocals and wavering synth lines are commanding, but as the album progresses, several of its tracks hover in a subtle gray midrange that borders on monotonous. Bretón sound more natural, and more engaging, when they let their rock side dominate, as on the brassy and vividly melodic single "Interference" or "Jostle," where live drums and several breakdowns and buildups show they're more agile than expected. When a glitchy, deconstructed piano morphs into full-out rock on "Wood and Plastic," it's another surprise that shows Bretón have potential to burn, especially when they don't follow the templates of their forerunners so closely.

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