Written by Susanna De Martino
Brazilian Money’s latest project is an eponymous album, fronted by Johnson, who is supported by a revolving cast of musicians—Ily & Oliver Barnes on drums, Catlin Kuzyk on guitar and vocals, Daniel Sedmak on the upright bass, and Liam Trimble on the violin. The album, a compilation of re-masters and re-recordings of tracks on past releases, has the distinct sound of an artist that enjoys making music. Johnson has described his genre as “weird pop,” and this anthology showcases his brand of bizarre at its best.
Take opening track “Slowly Soaking Up Some Rays On a Sofa,” in which high pitched cackling and wailing are seamlessly integrated into an echo-y surf pop song. Or “Why Am I Still Standing Here,” where voices shriek and croon behind Johnson’s vocals. “Bored in Space” is the closest the band comes to apathy or nihilism. It features a simple guitar melody underneath Johnson singing, “nothing lasts forever, except for space, except for space.” But even here, Johnson veers wildly towards the unexpected, dissolving the track into static noise and a two-man spoken discussion of outer space.
When not covering aliens, the band’s lyrics are primarily concerned with the trappings of life as a young artist in a big city: jobs, restlessness, money, inertia. On final track “Big Money” Johnson sings, “I’m sick of all my clothes, sick of where I go….I wanna be something more than wasted,” and, “I can’t look in the mirror.” But despite the uneasy subject matter, Johnson’s easygoing nature remains in the music itself, the dissatisfaction of his lyrics offset with languid guitar fills. It changes the track from a complaint into reflection, a song acknowledging problems without wanting to whine.
Listen to more Brazlian Money on their bandcamp