Sometimes all it takes is a few simple ingredients blended just right to create something that gives the day a brand new feel. This self-titled album from The Brewaves presents exactly this, though perhaps not in the way you might expect after hearing the first song of the playlist.
Burn Down This Barn opens things up in a pretty striking, attention grabbing way – a dash of electricity precedes a thick, distorted guitar riff, a mighty and stylish matching bass-line, a thick, organic beat, and a remarkable leading voice; one with every bit of gravel and grit required to carry the ascending melody along in the most satisfying manner.
From the beginning, you get into this Americana groove that the band offer. The story lets you escape entirely into the moment, and the music keeps you there for as long as you let it. Following this though, the band start to explore their creative roots in a different way, and Never Know Me introduces – just at the right time – a completely unexpected side to their music.
Never Know Me is a delicate, acoustically driven ballad of sorts, still with a touch of the electronically driven side of musicianship though. The leading voice has familiarity at this point, but it’s an entirely different type of performance. The delivery is gentle, the subject is personal and intimate – this combination, particularly after the weight and energy of the opener, makes for something that quietly demands your attention. You listen intently, trying to pick out every word and every idea. It sounds great, really cleverly placed within the collection, and in fact a fitting marker for the eclecticism and delicacy that emerges throughout.
Close Your Eyes offers an even softer piece of writing and performance. The emotional presence comes so unpredictably; the strings, the almost whispered leading voice, the poetry, the honesty – it reaches for your heart-strings when you least expect it, which again has the effect of making you really listen carefully and allow the moment to embrace you.
All I Need ventures back down the acoustic country road. It’s hard to believe this ambiance and this vocalist are the same as first discovered in Burn Down This Barn. There’s so much tenderness here, a totally different kind of performance, a totally different approach to expression and melodic journeying. It’s a stunning voice, so characterful and flawless, so genuine seeming. The melody in this case is beautiful, a classic or vintage style comes through, the harmonies and the flickers of additional guitars help build something hopeful and reflective.
How Beautiful introduces itself with an entrancing acoustic guitar performance, accompanied quite swiftly by a notably personal, honest string of lyrics, and a gradually intensifying performance – one backed more and more as things progress by various elements that help add to the growing passion. The lyrics intrigue, seeming both familiar and uncommonly specific; allowing the story-line to draw your attention, but also letting you attach your own experiences to the song as it plays. There’s a powerful balance between optimism and melancholy that makes for something beautifully hypnotic.
Put The Poison In keeps the level of intrigue high. The poetry provokes you to consider things, the gradual build-up of the music leads you in a lightly dramatic, compelling way through the surrounding conceptual arena. The leading voice works perfectly here in moving from the gentle verses to the hard-hitting hook – the music too, the switch has impact; everything works with authentic intent towards a shared moment of expression. The space here, and the guitar work, and the unstoppable drum-line – however mellow it may be – all of this helps craft something mesmerising to listen to to. It’s really unusual and beautifully crafted.
Answered Prayers follows with a certain lightness once again. The mood feels less fearful, less regretful, more accepting in its journey through memories and somewhat conflicting emotions. The performance that has been captured here portrays a really poignant moment that addresses both the personal elements and those relating to the bigger picture in a genuine, uplifting sort of way – particularly the rise up to that resolving hook section. The second verse returns to the memories, the thinking, the decisions, the realizations. The song has been well structured so as to keep you involved and interested throughout.
There’s a lot more to this project than the infectious vibrancy of the opening track tends to imply. For the most part, the playlist offers something incredibly thoughtful and inspiring to lose yourself to for a while. The music is beautiful, the leading vocalist unquestionably has something special that draws you in and keeps you listening and believing.
Dancing In a Dream marks the end of it all, a gentle, folk-country ballad, again whispered to you in a pure and heart-melting way. There’s something very dreamlike about this final piece, it leaves you feeling calm, content. It also quietly ushers you to go back and listen over to the whole album, which, at only eight tracks long, is an easy decision to make.
The Brewaves have a gorgeous sound and a really interesting approach to songwriting and performance. This album is a joy to experience and an easy one to revisit again and again. A really pure and unique sound, refreshing to witness and I look forward to hearing more.