Poison Apple is the first of a promised 6-month blitz of monthly single releases by Brooklyn's Gentleman Brawlers. Songwriter Matt Walsh, like a lot of bedroom multi-trackers, is so full of big ideas he can barely keep his focus together. Part of the issue is that he takes inspiration from everything. Each song seems to have its own agenda. Collectively, their performance amounts to a group of songs that marries the band’s fascination with Afrobeat to its rainy day guitar shimmer and leftfield electronica moodiness, often times to gorgeous effect.
The best way to experience this band is live, as I did at the National Underground last week—Not being one of those bands who bother with belonging to a movement or a trend, the Gentleman Brawlers displayed their strong understanding of the tricks and techniques of pop's biggest and best moments, the moments that stop your breath during the pause just before the big chorus, and they set out to make an entire night of such moments.
Poison Apple will get a few asses shaking, and, like tUnEyArDs and other Brooklynites experimenting with African and Latin syncopation, the Gentleman Brawlers are restructuring rock on a sonic and rhythmic level rather than a compositional one. Poison Apple, for all its classic rock muscle and obvious influences, displays the Gentleman Brawlers as a blast of fresh air, and Walsh a place among the finer songsmiths in the Brooklyn DIY scene.