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Brainkiller: Colourless Green Superheroes

The return of the cosmopolitan power trio with a twist.

As Brainkiller’s quirky 2010 album The Infiltration demonstrated, keyboards, trombone and drums may make for an unconventional line-up, but it’s one that’s more than capable of providing a satisfying payoff.

This admittedly eclectic sound comes with both guts and guile, resulting in an often improbable combination of finely-turned cogitation and blustering, Zappa-esque panache. That said, then as now, Brainkiller’s disposition to precocious agility can occasionally be frustrating.

Scribble is interspersed with a traffic jam of fiddly interventions hell-bent on subverting what would otherwise be a straightforward, balls-to-the-wall blow-out. A more gratifying balance between ornate arrangement and freewheeling expression is struck during Otaku Goes To A Rave, as Jacob Koller’s constantly-weaving keyboard swirls between and behind Hernan Hecht’s shuffling beats.

Brian Allen’s pungent trombone does the heavy lifting when it comes to carrying the album’s melodies, his flair for languorous slides and sudden jabs working well. Japanese singer Coppé adds welcome colour to Empty Words, her eerie vocalese upping the tension and adding a lustre of mystery.