Progression is a natural flux in music, and when not a conscious effort, engages the listener even more so, ditching cloying persuasion for something simple and honest. Milwaukee’s Brief Candles drift on an entirely natural momentum generated during the years between They Live We Sleep  to its current Fractured Days to create new material that is a testament to years spent pouring their collective composing energies into music that is heavy and layered yet disarmingly pretty. The formula remains the same on the band’s thoughtful buildups and gracefully majestic instrumental passages, but deepens with even more prominent vocals bending this formula and adding even more life to the quartet’s signature muscular, yet shimmering, sound.
Fractured Days easily reads like a dream, hazy, yet realized, and what pulls it into reality is its twists and turns, compliments of guest producers who manage to take particular songs and polish them to brighten their edges just enough. Mostly recorded in Milwaukee at Kevin Dixon’s Humdrum studios and at Greg Norman’s studio in Chicago, the band sought out likeminded musical minds to take their new material into appropriate sound spaces.
Jeff Zeigler [Kurt Vile, Pattern is Movement] brightens and sparkles the dreamy “Ten Weeks” and the vibraphone-adorned slow burner “Permafrost” while Adam Pierce [The Swirlies, Mice Parade] heightens Boniger-Dixon and Dixon’s pretty vocal exchanges on “Small Streets” and “Recognition”. Neil Weir [Vampire Hands, Gospel Gossip] hones in on the band’s signature sound in “The Completist”, building and making it resonate strongly without losing that sense of urgency the rhythm section naturally dips into to make those builds even more significant. Full of dense sonic spaces, Fractured Days sees Brief Candles at a new peak, not at all lost in translation even after several years of wait. – Erin Wolf