In “Ocean Under Lakeshore Drive,” one of the highlights of U Nu‘s debut Summer of Rain, Josh Brechner turns a deaf ear over his subject’s (or our) whining. In a cold fashion, he sounds gritty and punk, calloused by brassy drums and hopscotch singing. This and we are treated to “Field Recording,” an augmented number talking about err, recording and ‘one of those things’ where you hear Brechner discuss the subject. What is the purpose of that? Seated mid-way in the record, it marks Brechner’s further take on different forms of this art called experimental music. And he does not stop there.
A student of Political Science and based in Chicago, 21-year old Brechner has handled numerous instruments in years. Drums, saxophone and basically everything one can hear in Summer of Rain. Striking the balance between his goals musically and what listeners expect out of something experimental, though, can sometimes break off too far.
Admittedly, not all tracks in Summer of Rain are as appointing as “The Orchard Row / Ellipsis,” a five-minute stalker theme that strangely gives glimpses of lazy Sunday afternoon when there is nothing better to do than throw skipping stones at a lake or “Grey,” a spoken poetry number that showcases Brechner adulation of words by crisscrossing stories in a voice that ascends to panic in its last lines. Or “July23 or This is the End,” with only seven words in it appeals in its simplicity and mounting emotional exhaustion.
Intentional in its approach, Brechner has come up with an exciting batch of songs that are diverse, sometimes addictive and undeniably memorable. Thrown with other songs in a playlist, his tracks remain recognizably U Nu and U Nu alone. Clearly aware of what he is making here, Brechner chooses to tread this experimental wing and seemingly will stay here for a long time. For Summer of Rain can stand on that claim along with the verbosity brewing in all its sides.