Formed in 1998, it should surprise you that this instrumental post-rock trio from Mexico’s federal district have taken so long to do an eponymous EP – especially as they’ve had a more than steady output since formation.
Sad Breakfast are all about riffs. Big, chunky, Sabbath-esque riffs. They’re also quite keen on diminished and augmented chords. It’s an approach that works for them, especially as they have an abundance of riffs to throw around. Check out EP opener ‘Atahualpa Yuyeti’ and you’ll see what I mean – there’s about ten songs’ worth of riffs in that tune alone. It’s a Cyclopean bit of construction.
Then there’s the heavy melodic metal of tunes like ‘Aldeano’ – those diminished power chords and taut, driving bass giving it a feel reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins. It’s deep, engaging stuff that sounds great played loud.
There’s a lot of drama and foreboding in the aural landscapes that Sad Breakfast have carved out on this EP. The lack of vocals can be seen as a good or a bad thing in this respect – on one hand it frees things up structurally, meaning the band can ignore conventions like ‘verse, chorus, verse, chorus’. But it also means those musical landscapes are devoid of characters and stories to inhabit them.
It’s still a massively atmospheric EP, full of deft, subtle touches (like the gentle, understated throbbing of the bass-wah in ‘Munaf’ that suddenly turns into a growling, roaring caged tiger). The guitar work is diverse and layered, and it drives the tunes along with a sweepingly epic feel that immediately transports you into some kind of internal cinema that only shows films about broken people in bad places. In a good way.
They do upbeat aplenty too – closing track ‘Rompiendo Cosas’ is a happy-go-lucky major chord celebration with a nifty little question-and-answer thing going on between the bass and guitar. And halfway through it dissolves and turns into a completely different song that sees the three-piece first channel Pink Floyd and then Bitch Magnet.
All in all this is a firecracker of an EP. At seven tracks it’s more like a mini-album – some of the tracks are nearly seven minutes long – and there’s enough to keep you coming back. In fact, I found this EP improved with repeat listenings. An acquired taste then – like a fine single malt whisky. Except that the monster riffing will be a hook in your mouth from the first casual listen.
Words: Joseph McArthur Field.
About the author: Joseph writes for several publications, including his own Tumblr.