Fun Lovin’ Whippersnappers

Brice: Self-Titled EP(No Label)

Nathan Hall

Try as you might, it is impossible not to love Brice. Their spunky kegger anthems may not balance the state budget or solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but where is it written, that intricate, socially conscious metaphors are a prerequisite for quality pop music? Certainly, the opening riff from “Pour Some Sugar on Me” has no deeper meaning attached to it, yet we consistently shake our collective butts when we hear it. Likewise, the fun-loving whippersnappers in Brice ignore the melancholy-drenched sound propagated by Coldplay and their ilk, content to don a broken lampshade and drunkenly dance on tabletops in their tighty-whities for tips.

However, precocious adolescent cuteness alone can only get you so far. (Just ask Macaulay Culkin.) Imagine funnier, slightly more well-read early Sugar Ray records, combine the creative wordplay of Cake and you’re halfway there. Combining “let’s get stupid” raps with ridiculously catchy melodies, Brice is well past coasting on poster boy posing.

“We all went to high school together, but we came from different bands,” explained Andy Gustafson, 24, Brice’s bassist and a recent University of Minnesota graduate. “We combined styles from several different backgrounds and I think that’s one of our main strong points.”

Completely ignoring the sensitive issue of being white rappers, they embrace their inept rhyming skills like the Beastie Boys before them. Indeed, they pay pseudo homage to the true sounds of blackness on their debut record with a gut-busting hilarious cover of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Method Man,” to remember their roots, so to speak.

Brice was originally formed in the basement of a house near campus three and a half years ago. The recording session at the ultra-plush Terrarium that produced the record is a far cry from their humble beginnings. It seems that their relentless fliering and frenetic live show has finally earned them some well-deserved recognition.

Gustafson explained that after selling “400 or 500” copies of a cheaply produced demo at shows, Brice was approached by Brad Cassetta, who has worked with DJ Abilities and Eyedea, as well as several major label acts. The first five cuts were created at Terrarium. Fifteen other tracks are still being wrought at Melvin Ray’s, Cassetta’s home studio.

“We released the EP with the intention of helping getting signed to an indie, so that we could eventually release everything as a full length,” Gustafson explained.

Despite the band’s serious attitude toward getting their music out, it is hard not to smile a little when someone’s giving shout outs to Hungry Hungry Hippos. Brice’s bizarre sense of humor and goofball image generally work to their advantage. The band’s high spirits may well create an instant party classic out of their debut disc.

“We don’t wear stupid uniforms or whatever, but we’re willing to take some risks and experiment to get a reaction,” Gustafson said. “Some people may not take us seriously but when it comes down to it, we really are fairly upbeat people and my hope is that people connect with us on that level. People like something they’re able to sing along to, really.”

Brice will perform at a multiple sclerosis charity benefit at the Fine Line Music Cafe on Dec. 21 with the Fighting Tongs.

Nathan Hall welcomes comments at [email protected]