Dead Gaze – Brain Holiday

written by: October 15, 2013
Album-art-for-Brain-Holiday-by-Dead-Gaze Release Date: October 22, 2013


Immediately apparent when you turn on Dead Gaze’s debut record is the newfound clarity and distinction between each instrument and songwriter Colin Furlow’s vocals, which was alien to the multiple EPs and self-titled compilation album his project released in the last few years.

This change can be attributed to the upgrade in Furlow’s recording capabilities—he made the switch from recording in his bedroom to laying down tracks for free in Oxford, Miss.’s famous Sweet Tea studio, thanks to a friend who works at the joint.

The lucky break helped Furlow channel his catchy songwriting into something much more comprehensible and preferable in Dead Gaze’s first full-length, Brain Holiday.

While Dead Gaze’s identifiable brand of fuzzy pop-rock has changed for the better, it is still much the same.

Furlow throws a lot of focus on the “texture” of a song, which enhances the overwhelming nature of his music, despite how simple it seems on the surface.

Since Dead Gaze’s start in 2009, Furlow’s writing style has been compared to the likes of The Flaming Lips and Cloud Nothings, among other artists in the genre, but his strategic use of effects and instrumental layers makes his style unique. Dead Gaze cleverly titled its debut album Brain Holiday. The ultimate goal for this record is to act as an escape from everyday worries, which is exactly what it does.

Uplifting, singable songs like “Yippies Are Flowers” and “Rowdy Jungle” start off the album with a carefree vibe that carries throughout the record, happily erasing any negative thoughts clouding one’s head, while gritty, psychedelic punk songs like “You’ll Carry On Real Nice,” which was taken from Furlow’s compilation album and rehashed for Brain Holiday, will kick your ass and leave you with a smile.

The overall style of the album, which is unruly and rough, is the same as Dead Gaze’s old material, but the change in recording quality makes itself known from start to finish. The clarity of it, combined with the deliberate abundance of distortion, is the perfect fit for Furlow’s songwriting style and voice, an aspect which is finally able to take the front seat.

His skill and maturity is evident on songs like “Possible Embrace” and “Breathing Creatures,” which is a gorgeous ballad featuring calming piano, soft vocals from both Furlow and a female singer, and even trumpets toward the end to tie it all together. All of these components add up to make an offshoot of the past Dead Gaze, which sounded muddled and confusing much of the time.

The album ends on the simple, loud title track. It’s a noisy song that explains Furlow’s definition of what exactly a “brain holiday” is: taking some time off to digest one’s thoughts, or even slipping off to bed after a long, stressful day. This is what the record attempts to accomplish, and it does a fantastic job.

Dead Gaze’s official debut is worthy of attention. If you’re looking for an easy-going record to sing along to and clear your head, this is it.

Dead Gaze – Brain Holiday tracklist:

  1. “Yuppies Are Flowers”
  2. “Rowdy Jungle”
  3. “Stay, Don’t Say”
  4. “Runnin’ On The Moon”
  5. “You’ll Carry On Real Nice”
  6. “A Different Way”
  7. “Breathing Creatures”
  8. “Possible Embrace”
  9. “Brain Holiday”