Red Shirt Brigade – Mock Election and the Post Selection EP

Red Shirt Brigade
Mock Election and the Post Selection EP

The Red Shirt Brigade’s music is a snapshot of everything that is right with the world of indie pop music today. Melodic, intricate guitar parts, gloriously harmonic backing vocals, and an endless supply of cool Casio keyboard parts make Mock Election and the Post Selection one of Detroit’s finest treasures.

The EP begins with “Adam and Eric,” a nice little acoustic-guitar based instrumental piece. I can see this track being used as the soundtrack for some “relationship” scene in a movie … Two lovers are walking down the street, laughing and holding hands – maybe stopping at some cute little sidewalk shops or cafes to look at fruit before winding up kissing in some passionate nighttime shot underneath a street lamp. “Easy, Just in Case” starts out a little spacey for me, but it quickly evolves into a tasty little nugget of pop mastery. The vocals are touching enough to seem sincere, but never get whiney enough to get annoying (something I’ve noticed that a lot of indie pop bands have a problem with). The nice backing harmony vocals in the chorus/bridge parts lead up to some really catchy 60’s-esque “Ba-ba-ba-da-ba” vocal parts. Good, good stuff.

The next track, “Strychnine Police/Death Arcade,” has endeared itself as my favorite track on the disc. Soothing Casio sounds wash through the backing track, creating a real atmosphere of floating around out in space somewhere. The chorus, “We don’t have to die,” sticks in your head like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth. The Casio break in mid-song just absolutely rules, and the breakbeat instrumental piece (“Death Arcade”) tacked onto the song is a nifty little way to end the track. Definitely the dreamiest track on the album. “Purpose and Praise” is yet another scrumptious pop delight. This one seems like the perfect soundtrack for an autumn day spent walking through a park, holding hands and standing in awe of the leaves changing colors and falling all around … There’s a great bridge in this song leading into an ‘accelerated’ musical break, nicely blending the bopping bass and firm guitar with some more of that wholesome Casio goodness that we all know and love.

When I read that the title of the next song was “Haters of the Red Shirt,” I was dumbstruck – How could anyone possibly hate the Red Shirt Brigade? (Well, with the exception of maybe hardcore Slipknot fans, but they don’t count.) Once I got past that mind-boggling question, I was able to slouch back in my chair and enjoy the acoustic guitar sounds and unbelievably crazy-type backing vocals that peppered this track. “More Aerobics” closes out the album with another dreamy pop tune that closes out the disc with a cool Casio beat under a bed of softly lulling guitars.

Make no mistake about it – The Red Shirt Brigade have a definite love affair with 80’s synth-pop and The Moog Cookbook. Still, the Casio isn’t the centerpiece of this record, because the excellent songwriting and tight overall sound of the band overshadows everything else on this release. I will say, however, that I’m happy the Brigade are children of the 80’s, because this release really wouldn’t be the same without the keyboards. Now, if there were any justice in the world, these fine young lads would be on the cover of Tiger Beat. As it stands, we’ll just have to settle for listening to their fine pop craftsmanship for the time being. Pick this one up and daydream the afternoon away.