Travis Bretzer’s EP ‘Making Love’ fits so well into the Slacker Rock scene that is emerging out of Canada at the moment, that you would never be able to tell this is his debut release. I had the fortune to catch Bretzer at the first show of his UK tour, at the Green Door Store in Brighton and have been hooked ever since. Although ‘Making Love’ has just five songs etched into its grooves, they all feel like staples in my music collection already.
Billy And I opens the record with a breezy, yet distinct twang. The modulation that sits on the guitars gives the whole track a spaced-out, and almost nostalgic, feeling. Bretzer‘s lyrics conjure up images of two best friends spending a typically American ‘summer break at the lake house’. Perhaps a look-back to a freer, simpler time in Bretzer‘s life. How ever you read into the lyrical content, it won’t take away from this expertly written track.
You don’t need to look far for an eyes-closed-shoulder-swayer, in fact you only need to look to the next track He’s A Gun. Although this track runs a slow, chilled-out tempo, the verses pulse with intent, and the ‘Bang, Bang’ of the chorus jumps out in a rather contrasting fashion (much like a gunshot…). He’s A Gun, again, is stamped with Bretzer’s signature character, which leaves you wondering whether his guitar is actually in tune, or whether your speakers are bust.
Hurts So Bad has to be my personal favourite, it truly deserves to be a smash hit, and if I had my way it would be. Teeming with that Bretzer flavour, Hurts So Bad is, undeniably, a down-to-earth break-up song. Lines like ‘Its purgatory, please don’t ignore me’ and ‘One more chance to let me fuck up again, look into the past to see where the story ends.’ would surely confirm there is a relationship coming to a close. The reality of the situation becomes clearer and clearer every time you think about Bretzer‘s lyrics. Somehow the pain of Travis‘ words is washed away by the toe-tap-ability of this perfectly written, pop-rock masterpiece.
Trying To Learn, is probably the most upbeat encounter on the record, with almost the same spaced-out feeling as Billy And I. The difference is a clean cut guitar line mirroring Travis‘ vocals, and a noticeable accentuation of the back beat. The simplistic lead guitar shines throughout the track and the fact that, for once, it isn’t modulated is a refreshing change.
The shortest and final track on the EP is Death Rock, a song that, initially, picks up where Trying To Learn left off, rocking and upbeat. That is until you realise this song has nearly a complete opposite outlook. Where Trying To Learn was a song about self-improvement, Death Rock is about self-destruction, typified in the lines ‘I don’t feel like getting older, I don’t feel like going further’. This makes you wonder, how the happiness can be dragged out of a song in just a couple of lines.
‘Making Love’ is a superb record, all 11 minutes of it. It leaves you wanting more, and it also leaves you wondering if you really know what the record is all about. A true mystery, a good one though, a really good one.
It is a crime that Travis Bretzer is so relatively unknown when he can produce such strong and defined music. So go check this album out on Spotify or just buy it, you’ll hardly be breaking the bank.
Words by Robb Hiscock