Members: Jamie - Vocals, Allie - Vocals/Keyboards, Jeff - Guitars, Jay - Bass, Davy - Drums
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JAMIE - vocals
JEFF - guitars
ALLIE - vocals, keys
JAY - bass
DAVY - drums
I happened upon BREAKUP BREAKDOWN on NYC's Lower East Side completely by accident. I asked an acquaintance who the next band was and he said they were on Cordless, Warner's new e-label and they were kind of a garage rock band. Hmmm, I thought. A major new e-label? Interesting! Garage rock? Harrumph! We've all fallen victim to the overexposure of bandwagon jumpers, and that night, I feared further victimization.
The racket began with the customary cross stick count of 4 and a terrible beast was unleashed upon me. From Sabbath's evil and the Stones' sex was my right foot won and taken by a spell of tapping.
BREAKUP BREAKDOWN's lead singer James Sparber has absolute command of the stage, peacocking about, carefree in a 3 piece suit dragged from a gutter, further filthifying his dark mop on its way over his crown, beer in hand glued, howling a throaty call that is at once Grit and Glam. Thus, the first verse sent the length of the right leg into a state of vigorous heel tapping, resulting in a brusque head bob, accompanied by a furrow-browed stare.
Keyboard and backing vocals are handled by the stunning bleach-blonde Allison Langerak, who is prone to beaming and pogo-ing frantically in place like the next contestant on the Price is Right. Her vocal is a precocious, irresistible brat demanding more cake, but with laser guided pitch. Dare I say this stimulus worked the pelvis into the grooving, which set off a chain reaction of Full Body Dancing of which I was not aware I was at all capable. Nor was I alone...
The room torched and pillaged by the fury of Jeff Mench's chugging guitar and the rhythm section's (Jay Honstetter on bass, Davy Hamrick on drums) ceaseless assault, but it was over the course of the set that the full versatility of the band was revealed. Not at all content to rest on the laurels of perfectly executed garage swagger, many of the songs incorporate a much more angular feel, injecting their hip-shimmy into the stark, stiff straightness of the post-punk feel of the Wire -- Depeche Mode continuum. Add into the equation the drunken glee-club country-fried harmony that Langerak offers and you realize BREAKUP BREAKDOWN is a more complex beast than you thought, when the sheer power of their set was turning your ass out on the dancefloor.
Say what you want about genres and trends and styles. BREAKUP BREAKDOWN embodies that great duality that defines rock n roll: total control and surgical precision in a drunken, apocalyptic sloppiness; barely, but perfectly controlled raw human explosiveness.
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