As someone who loved Brainstorm's 2009 debut album Battling Giants
and the string of gymnastic, tropical dance-pop releases the Portland band's released since, the excitement over their new album Heat Waves
was muted slightly by its inclusion of re-recordings of several of their best songs. Battling Giants
and the "Beast in the Sky" and "Flat Earth" singles were each mined for their best tracks, leaving only three new Brainstorm songs to round out Heat Waves
: "Maybe a Memory," "Death Bells," and "The Crown Caves In." But the truth is, these updated versions sound terrific and the new songs are just as good, and Heat Waves
is cogent and coherent, feeling very much like its own album rather than the result of cherry picking. Brainstorm's playing has never been better—and it was always great
—and the newly expanded lineup with bassist Tamara Barnes gives them even greater flexibility. Brainstorm were out of town when Heat Waves
was released by Tender Loving Empire on October 2, but this is the long-overdue hometown record release show. NED LANNAMANN Also see My, What a Busy Week!