Although War Room Stories is just the second LP by London-based indie collective Breton, the band has numerous EPs and collaborations, both audio and visual, to their credit. When they originally set up their BretonLABS studio in a South East London warehouse, their modus operandi was to become a truly collaborative, D.I.Y., multi-media arts machine with each member contributing in a variety of ways to the grand vision of what could be considered a company as much as a band. Their debut LP, 2012's Other People's Problems, was a jagged pastiche of urban London stitched together with manipulated found sounds and blending elements of dubstep, hip-hop, electronica, and indie rock. On their 2014 follow-up, War Room Stories, that bold experimentation still runs wild, but it's tempered by a slightly more contemporary pop sound as heard on the album-opener "Envy," whose buoyant chorus almost echoes some of the more melodic moments of Mike Skinner's Streets tracks. The melodies continue to pour out on the hooky but menacing "Legs & Arms," the driving "Search Party," and the dreamy, late-night "302 Watchtowers." It's a welcome development for the band and comes at no expense of their bold, experimental spirit. Interestingly, the album was recorded after the band relocated their operations from London to an old studio in East Berlin, which was once the headquarters of communist propaganda-producing GDR radio. The artistic playground of modern-day Berlin seems to have had its influence on the gentlemen of Breton as they turn in an extremely creative, yet accessible sophomore effort.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger