Local Spotlight: BRICKLAYER

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“Indie Slipknot” BRICKLAYER shines with their creative sound and infectious energy onstage.

Imagine the punk energy of X-Ray Spex mixed with improvisational synth garage rock. Or as they describe themselves, “indie Slipknot.” That’s a rough description of the Boston and New York-based BRICKLAYER. Originally comprised of seven members, the now six-person group features Emily Carter on vocals, Mylan Vogels on guitar and synth, Alex Walsh on synth, Zach Allman on bass, and Corey Camara and Cole Hancock on dueling drumsets. The band is capable of smacking you in the face with its energy and creativity and is worth checking out on streaming platforms and live when you get the chance.

BRICKLAYER was born in the post-pandemic environment in two camps. Most of its core met each other in the western Massachusetts scene as the majority of its members were in different bands while attending UMass Amherst. After the pandemic, a since-departed member asked Carter if she wanted to “be in the loudest, most raucous band?” Finally, they added two Berklee graduates to complete the lineup. Their first show was a 2022 Massachusetts College of the Arts Battle of the Bands (in which they won second place) and they’ve played numerous shows in the Boston area since.

The band writes most of their songs from group jams in which the sections of songs emerge organically. Then they record the various pieces and Carter will add vocal melodies and lyrics later. Carter says she focuses on telling stories with her lyrics. For example, their track “Sticky Fingers” tells a story from Carter’s teenage years when she tried to steal a pair of earrings to impress a girl. The track displays all of the band’s strengths. Carter demonstrates multiple vocal techniques, from energetic punk singing, to spoken word, to metal screaming. The foundations of the track are guitar and bass riffs, synth parts filling the texture, and tight drumming.

BRICKLAYER and a few other bands were able to pack O’Brien’s in Allston on a Sunday evening, which is no small feat! They sound just as tight and well-rehearsed live as they do on their album, with a little more freedom to jam. What struck me the most about their set was the high levels of energy and musicianship. The two drumsets provide the music with power, yet there were multiple pauses and breaks that showed just how tightly their songs were arranged. There are plenty of great riffs to rock out to, heard in songs  like “Bloodsucker” and “Gay Breakfast.” The overall sound was also well-mixed and each instrument was audible, a testament both to the O’Brien’s sound crew and the band’s arrangements. Finally, Carter demonstrated a great range and variety of techniques, but most importantly, knew how to engage a crowd. At multiple points, she had the O’Brien’s crowd dancing and moshing. 

BRICKLAYER is a creative and fun group that puts on a high-powered show. In talking with them, it was also clear to me how much love and respect they had for each other, both as musicians and as friends. Although they’re navigating transitions and living in new cities, you can catch them at their next show on July 18 at Sonia.

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