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At first glance, Mackintosh Braun sounds like the name of a British spy from a cinematic farce starring Will Farrell. Actually it’s the name of a duo from Portland, Oregon, whose names just happen to be Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun.
“Could It Be” begins with an 1980s-era keyboard melody and reverb-drenched joint vocals, which set the tone until an explosive chorus joins major keyboard swells with soaring harmonies. “Could It Be” is an unapologetic dose of optimism that’s just trying to make the listener feel good. When Braun and Mackintosh ask, “Could it be enough / to only stay right here?” their song pinpoints the mood at the climax of a teen coming-of-age movie, where the boy-meets-girl protagonists learn a little bit about themselves, and each other. Think back to Simple Minds’ “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” in The Breakfast Club or Alphaville’s “Forever Young” in Napoleon Dynamite, and you get the idea.
This isn’t music that is going to solve the ongoing banking crisis or get Sarah Palin to shut the hell up. “Could It Be” is music for the moment. Mackintosh Braun delves into the toolbox of retro ‘80s synth tricks, and creates a track that answers its own question. Yes, it is enough to stay right here for the duration of this song. But not a moment longer.
Macintosh Braun’s second full-lengths, Where We Are, is available now on Atlantic Records.