Four years on since London-based Brown became a YouTube and Spotify sensation with the soft strummed infertility angst of 'Sons and Daughters', co-penned by and featuring Liz Lawrence, he finally releases a follow-up in the form of his debut album. Citing such influences as Bon Iver, Feist and James Vincent McMorrow, its electronics-shaded quiet folk is pretty much what you might expect. There are, however, a couple of deviations to snap you out of the cabin in the woods reveries, 'Sweetest Thing' a breathily sung folk-soul rhythmic shuffle likely to see Savoretti or Nutini comparisons, 'Don't Let Me Go' is a mid-tempo jogging carnival gospel while 'Last Dance' throws caution to the wind for a clattery, thumping drum beat, echoey vocals and a whirl around the floor that's positively thrash by comparison.
It is, though, those introspective ballads that are the backbone and strength, Robyn Sherwell harmonising with him on the forlorn 'Rivers' with its shades of Drake and Simon, Brown rolling out is falsetto in the final stretch, 'Goodbyes', the bare bones acoustic closer, and the handclap accompanied, slow building 'Foolish Love'.
Lawrence makes another appearance, on the softly skittering co-written lead single 'Palms', though it's not in the same league as their other collaboration, while female Canadian singer Lowell features on 'Shape Of You', a musical shape-shifting 21st century cosmic campfire ballad that is probably the closest here to recent Justin Vernon in tone.
The best tracks though are loaded at the start, 'Ancient Fires', a hypnotic electronics crackling night skies ballad with hummed intro and ooohing backing, sleepy vocals and an almost tribal rhythm, and 'Fires', its driving, pulsing beat exploding into a glorious, exulting chorus burst swelling to a jubilant climax and dying fall.
With that initial internet impetus something if a distant memory, I don't see this repeating the fervour, but those who've been waiting patient won't be disappointed and there's ample here to attract the curious, as well as guarantee him royalty fees for a fair few more American TV series too.
|Amy Macdonald: Under Stars||Adrian & Meredith: More Than A Little|
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session