There are many albums you fall in love with that you completely expected to. You know the artist, you know the sound, and you know yourself, so you go in anticipating coming out blown away on the other side. These experiences are wonderful, yet routine — the type of regularities that make people follow music in the first place.
Then there are albums you had no idea what to expect going in, or didn’t even plan to get inside in the first place. Your ears picked up the right chords at the right time and you suddenly found yourself in possession of a sound that implausibly didn’t exist prior to just that moment. Something clicks, and it feels as if you are becoming a fan of music for the first time all over again. Until the Ribbon Breaks recently brought upon this phenomenon for me, and I expect they could do the same for you when they play the intimate Brick and Mortar Music Hall this Wednesday, October 28.
The British band derived their poetic name from the idea of playing a gifted mixtape endlessly until it wore out, or “until the ribbon breaks.” Although the band’s debut album, this year’s A Lesson Unlearnt, is not a hopelessly romantic collection consisting of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” adjacent to LL Cool J’s “I Need Love” — it similarly operates with the philosophy of a genre-hopping amalgamation of stand-alone singles that coalesce into a defined statement. Moods swing, styles shift, and soundscapes are born, taken apart, and resurrected.
Beginning as lead singer Pete Lawrie-Winfield’s solo endeavor, Until the Ribbon Breaks soon absorbed James Gordan and Elliot Wall to create a collective that blends the best of hip-hop, electronic, and rock before it skews it towards a darker and more twisted sound. “A Taste of Silver” launches off with a blitzing electric guitar riff before hitting a wobbly groove perpetually on the edge of tipping over, but always deftly kept in balance by a persistent drumbeat and a snappy keyboard melody. Meanwhile the cunningly dark “Revolution Indifference” brings on board hip-hop heavy-hitters Run the Jewels, who repay the favor UTRB was owed after the band gave the duo’s track “A Job Well Done” its sinister hook.
The disparate sounds that comprise A Lesson Unlearnt are all kept centered by Winfield – whose ear for crafting melodies that simultaneously soar and saunter is the definitive feature of a project defined by it’s abundance of definitive features. His voice has a smooth smolder that breathes levitating life into the meditative “Orca,” but is versatile enough to inject dejected weight into the eponymous “Until the Ribbon Breaks.” He ruminates over fear, regret, lust, and loss with a steady strut, no matter the tempo or atmosphere each track brings to him.
You don’t lock down opening slots for tours with the likes of Lorde, Phantogram, and London Grammar without being immediately recognizable as something extraordinary. Until the Ribbon Breaks sound like everything, but call comparisons to no one — they have crafted themselves a niche that’s unique in its universally appealing nature. Expect to swoon, groove, and be stirred at Brick and Mortar Music Hall on Wednesday. Don’t expect Until the Ribbon Breaks to be a secret for long, however, so get in on it while it’s still well kept.
Until the Ribbon Breaks
Brick and Mortar Music Hall
October 28, 2015
9:00 PM, $11 Advance, $15 Day of Show (18+)