4-Wheel Vibe (Caroline)
by Scott Hefflon
Yeah, so I’m biased here. I love Bracket. Everyone has their flavor-of-the-month pop punk fave, and Bracket has been a tasty choice for me for the last year. A coupla singles on Fat Wreck Chords, a song on the Fat Music for Fat People compilation, and 924 Forestville St. on Caroline are not nearly enough. 4-Wheel Vibe has the same bopping energy, clever choruses, and pick-shredding guitarwork of their earlier work, but the hooks seem more integrated. It’s a hard thing to describe, but the songs seem to go deeper than a “Hey, that sounds good” structure. It’s as if they tweaked the songs because they seemed too obvious the first time around. They took risks with timing and tangential ideas and ended up producing songs that ought to have longevity. This is more than catchy pop; it’s great songwriting.
Some may complain it’s too calculated, but if it works, who gives a shit? Lyrically, the bubblegum giddiness is still there, as are the dark undertones. I’m not worried about Bracket turning into Morrissey-style wallowing, but I personally like the frantic, sing-along, blurry-handed guitarwork tracks. Up-tempo poppers like “Green Apples” are too cool for radio overplay. There just isn’t a runt in this litter – every song is great.