Album Review: Asylums – Killer Brain Waves

Killer Brain Waves

Released July 29th 2016

Words: James Booton

asylums killer brain wavesThirty-six minutes of hard hitting, messy rock and roll, what more could you possibly want from an album? After over two years of working on various single releases, London based rock foursome Asylums have now produced one of the most refreshingly raw, rock albums of the year titled Killer Brain Waves. The relatively short length of their debut album reflects the bands fast paced passionate attitude, almost every song being a quick burst of heavy rock riffs tangled up with pop melodies. Blending the two genres to perfection and managing to create an album on the catchier side of rock, fitting in with the recent rock revolution, with the likes of Royal Blood emerging into the public eye.

The album harbours all the key elements of a quality rock album, however Asylums manage to find a niche in their cleverly written lyrical satire. Lead singer Luke Branch sings of The Death Of Television and of Sunday Commuters, taking an unfavourable view on modern society, poking fun at the so called “social-norms” and the way the world has developed. Branch’s ironic vocals convey a resemblance to the socially aware, humorous lyrical messages of the late 90’s group Weezer, and offer the band a unique edge considering lyrics are becoming more and more meaningless in the modern day. Another element of Asylums distinct sound is the addition of synth melodies on tracks such as Bad Influence and Slacker Shopper, again mashing up classic grungy rock & roll with a slight modern twist.

The new album provides the listener with a versatile record, ranging from the aggression and power of Slacker Shopper to the catchier, more heartfelt pop rock chorus’s in Missing persons and Joy In A Small Wage which carry a more American vibe. Although the album does boast a range of interpretations on rock, the general style of Asylums is clear and is reinforced by the albums artwork. Killer Brain Waves is not only a good indication for the way rock is developing, but also an insight into the rebirth of the importance of an artist’s creative direction, with art and fashion again becoming increasingly integrated with music just like they used to be, as well as the resurgence of the consumer being concerned about the look and feel of an album as vinyl begins to make a comeback. Following this trend, Asylums release their debut album on Bright pink vinyl accompanied by an edgy album cover picturing a microwaved brain. Layered on top of that, an American skate, cracked typeface. These combine to give the band a distinct brand with the typeface resembling at the messy rock side of their music, whereas the image reflects the groups social irony. Even the designs, purple/blue, space like colour scheme hints at the minor synth elements of some songs, reflecting a similar colour structure of some early 70’s groups such as Electric Light Orchestra.

The track bang in the middle of the album, The Death Of Television sums up all that the band is about, a one minute and twenty-six second long attack of punchy social criticism (in this case of the social media industry). A brilliant break through act dedicated to their love of music, releasing their debut album via their own record label Cool Thing Records, Asylums are sure to make a name for themselves with their distinctive “aesthetically unpleasing” style and politically critical lyrics.

Head over to the bands website where their bright pink, signed vinyl is available to order now!

Listen to Killer Brain Waves here:



16 – London, Hackney Wonderland
21 – Southend, Chinnerys
22 – Salford, Eagle Inn
23 – Oxford, Cellar
25 – Bristol, Cellar
26 – Brighton, Hope & Ruin
27 – Leicester, The Cookie
28 – Birmingham, The Rainbow
29 – Aldershot, West End Centre

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