Pete Branscombe – ‘A Cry for Self-Help’


A Cry for Self-Help is the new album from Pete Branscombe, who embraces a concise mode of hooky rock songwriting here. Many of the tracks captivate in under two minutes of runtime, a byproduct of Branscombe switching up his approach a bit. “Throughout covid I became unable to finish anything, so to overcome that I gave myself the easy goal of making an album of 1-minute songs alternating with 1-minute soundscapes,” he explains. “It turned out that the songs lasted longer, so I shortened the soundscapes.”

That approach certainly worked for bands like Wire (cited as an influence), and Branscombe succeeds as well with A Cry for Self-Help. The Tokyo-based artist, who is originally from England and returns to visit annually, impresses with a variety of sounds — from the onslaught rock intensity of “The 39,000 Steps” to the gentle, jazzy inclinations of “Petals.” The former is a raucous and fun showing, contrasting in tone from the vintage pop sereneness of the anti-consumerist “Stop Buying Now.”

Soundscapes prove riveting throughout, from the gentle jazz of “Petals” to the caressing water-set sounds of “Uguisu Downstream.” “The soundscapes mostly feature friends and my local Tokyo environment,” Branscombe says. A Cry for Self-Help is a thoroughly enjoyable album with eclectic range, from passionate rockers to chamber-pop contemplations.

“The 39,000 Steps” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of July 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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