Immerse Yourself in the Indie World of Best Breakfast With Its Latest Album, “Clap If You Can”

With the release of their new album last month, Brooklyn’s Best Breakfast continues to explore its perennial themes – the psychology of love: romantic regret, longing, and loss – with both wistful pangs and welcome playfulness. Clap If You Can marks the trio’s fourth album in two years, a reflection on the poppy, folk-flecked indie rock band’s ultra-productivity over the depths of COVID lockdown.

Our coming together was accelerated by the pandemic. I was like, “We can just livke together and then continue to write and compose and make that part of our routine.” So that’s what happened.”

Ben Majest (singer, guitarist, and songwriter)

Best Breakfast released their debut album, Late 80’s Baby, pre-pandemic during the summer of 2020 and swiftly followed up with Seconds later that year and dream-folk collection Panacea in November of 2021. The band even found time for a standalone single, “Princess Di,” released in February 2022, before announcing Clap If You Can. In truth, Best Breakfast has no need to overthink nor over-produce Majest’s infectious creations: brain-straining refrains and vocal hooks breeze by on bustling beats and airy, intimate studio treatments all the more resonant for their lack of sonic clutter. Majest’s narratives are lucid and relatable, with lyrics sometimes abstract but never verbose.

I feel like our music is very, very accessible. Some of the music that’s written for the indie genre can feel like it’s trying to do too much. I think we hit a sweet spot where just the experience for listeners is nice.

Ben Majest

Like two if its predecessors, Clap If You Can was recorded at Majest’s home studio in Williamsburg, with bassist Ian Romer producing and Poyraz Aldemir on drums. The trio draws inspiration from bastions of songcraft like Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac, alongside more contemporary indie influences including Tame Impala, Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, and The Strokes. Everything about the band serves the sentiment and the song, with mood, melody, and message always to the fore.

Clap If You Can was written in the immediate wake of a seemingly promising relationship that unexpectedly faltered. The gauzy and quietly defiant brightness of previous releases is now joined by a more raw, immediate vulnerability. The 10-track album teeters between indie, folk, rock, and pop sounds, with each track a little bit different than the last to capture the reflection that occurs throughout the album and the arc of trying to understand exactly what went wrong or where things could have happened differently. It’s a journey of heartache and loss that many of us are familiar with, all the while wrapped up into cheerful and energetic package that reassures us that everything will be okay.

Opening track “Sole Purpose” sets the pensive tone for the remainder of the album as powerful vocals carry above the gentle instrumentals and the repeated question “What’s my sole purpose?” resonates through the life lessons otherwise exposed by the lyrics. “Shapeshifter” continues the pensivity, but in a very different manner. Rather than the outright questioning hoook, the lyrics focus on the effect of not finding answers – feeling the same or stuck.

A more jovial soundscape takes over in “Where To” as the lyrics evoke a sense of wonder that is paired with restlessness. While the hazy vocals seek connection, the instrumentals are brighter and calmer, a sentiment that is carried through to “Wave.” Listeners experience dreamier melodies and quaint guitar strums in “Wave,” which mirrors the sentimental nature of the lyrics, though they exist with a hint of bittersweet disillusionment. The luminous production continues in “Picture Perfect,” replete with fluttering, faux-Spanish guitar from frequent collaborator Chris Parker. We again hear the inwardly-looking nature of the questions that underpin this album – this time, with a focus on what we forgo by trying to be perfect, or what we are asking others to forgo in the pursuit.

“Young + Dumb” acts as a pivotal point in the album as the tone begins to shift to one of acceptance. A return to lessons learned, which were briefly explored in the opening track, is evident as the lyrics consider what could have been done differently in the relationship. Reflection is also pervasive in “All the Wrong Places” as the need for connection is revisited,but now with the understanding that personal reflection, a prominent theme of this album, is needed in the future.

“Tried so Hard” reveals a more folk-leaning approach to the production and vocal styling. The introduction of wind instruments creates an airy atmosphere. The lyrics are littered with nostalgia, a normal reaction in these sorts of events, and the swirl of emotions that come with trying to let go of something that you invested so much time in – trying to move on without feeling like it was all a waste of time. So what comes next? The last two tracks. “A Question” focuses on finding yourself after loss while “Let it Come to Me” takes the next step of learning to live with what happened and letting the past be the past and we are reminded, once again, that everything will be okay.

Clap If You Can may be painstakingly relatable, but it also might be just what you need if you’re feeling stuck after the loss of a relationship. Let yourself become immersed in the indie world that Best Breakfast has curated while you follow along in the album’s arc as it takes you from the initial pain to the final release.

Elena Lin Administrator
I am a concert/festival photographer based in St. Louis. I’m always eager to travel for new music and experiences and to meet new faces!
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Elena Lin Administrator
I am a concert/festival photographer based in St. Louis. I’m always eager to travel for new music and experiences and to meet new faces!

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