[20 August 2013]
The sleeve art to Making Love EP, the Mexican Summer debut by Edmonton, Alberta based songwriter Travis Bretzer, is not unlike a drunk Snapchat sent by a friend four or five happy hour cocktails in. It’s a disorienting sight at first, but when the photo is experienced with the intentionally rough-around-the edges production of this EP, Bretzer’s approach makes complete sense. There’s a real intimacy to this music—with a title like Making Love, Bretzer’s obviously not out to put distance between himself and the listener—and, for the most part, these five songs sound like they were recorded during a tiny bar show comprised of Bretzer and his friends. The result of all of this is that the EP is welcomingly unpretentious and honest; while not made up of the retreat-to-the-woods type of emotional poignancy so many crave, this is a collection of songs written by a guy just doing what the hell he wants to do.
There’s an insularity that comes along with this carefree attitude, and it’s the same thing that leads to Making Love a cluttered EP. Opener “Billy and I,” a hodgepodge of Magnetic Fields-esque baroque pop and a warbly vocal in the style of Tom Petty, is all over the place production-wise, a feature that pops up more than once on the remaining four tracks. Bretzer’s acoustic guitar is usually at the forefront, but the other backup instruments are left textureless and uninteresting. Bretzer would have been better off leaving these songs to be solo acoustic, as his arrangements indicate that the other musicians involved are merely placeholders. This guy has a head full of ideas and a genial spirit willing to share all of the notes he comes up with; it’s hard to deny he’s genuine, even though his slip-ups are hard to overlook.