Brinleigh’s fascinating 2017 album “The Landing” is as much a conceptual story in audio format as it is an album. Drenched in sci-fi synths, brooding spacious otherworldly moments and songs that feel quite timeless, it’s an unusual but excellent entry into the music scene.
The title track’s instrumental drone opens the album like the beginning of an 80’s film noir soundtrack. It’s equal parts like we’re arriving in an alien world, and equal parts that we’re going off to war. It fades into the echoing guitar of “The Prelude” that introduces Brinleigh’s soft and delicate voice. She has a tendency to drift slightly off her intended note by just the smallest tone and it gives her an innocent childlike edge to her syrupy quiet. The album builds another step up with “The Woods” that nods towards a spaghetti western in space-rock terms. Electric guitars slide like a pitch shifter on a keyboard, beats wobble along and the feeling of an acrid journey makes the song feel bountiful but weary. “Pupils” is more punchy on the percussion and uses water drops to accent the beats. It’s a minimalist piece that never really grows and isolates Brinleigh’s voice around singular noises and tweaks.
That tracks emptiness makes “Come Away” feel so much fuller. It’s the first full band effort with bass, guitar, keys, drums and vocals. The organs and filter passes of synths are what drive this prog rock piece forward. In some ways its quite laid back, but in others it’s a dramatic climactic moment as the outro nods to plenty Pink Floyd on synths. “Shape Shifter” is a dark filtered piano led track. Brinleigh’s vocals this time are being twisted gently in the frequency changes as she is shape shifting over the track. It’s a clever twist because you can hear things are being done to her voice, but it’s like a TV that slips momentarily out of tune and back again – so initially you wonder if you heard it at all. It pairs well with “Sad Alien” which plays with audio pressure and chords at odds with each other. It’s a ballad, but the chords come from some kind of dramatic moment, and so the whole track feels awkward on purpose. It lets “Back Home” close out the album in a sweet, folksy manner. It nods briefly at many of the things that have been done before it and has the night crickets chirping in the background.
“The Landing” is fascinating because it works as a whole album unit. Individually, some of these songs may get lost – but as a journey – it works really well – and is more than the sum of its parts. Come Away is by far the central focal point though and shows what Brinleigh can really do if given all the tools.
Recommended Track : Come Away