Bryan Away first popped onto my radar with the unusual single ‘Give In’. A moody piece of art-folk, I found it engrossing. I sought out the EP of the same name to see if the strangeness continued. I’m pleased to report it does – but not in the way the single promotes.
To describe the lead single ‘Give In’ is tricky. The verses are a heartbeat thump and whispered voice that gives away to a slow burn horror string creep for a chorus. It is ugly, strange and entrancing at the same time. Its also a little misdirected for the EPs tone and sound palette because after that piece of creepy art pop the entire rest of the EP is folk.
‘Birthday Song’ is a meandering light folk song that spirals into jazzy chords to feel uneasy but celebratory. ‘Children’ is more straightforward. Its fluffy doubled up acoustic guitar feels dreamy and Bryan Away even makes his voice light and airy too. It is a peaceful hippy tinged ballad.
This light and fluffy feel carries into ‘Pour One Out’. Bryan uses vintage string synths to recreate a kitchen sink drama from 1965 to great effect. That allows the EP to close out with rock n roll piece ‘Ode to the Dog Days’ which never quite gets going. It has an unusual start/stop and breathe song structure that feels just a little too lazy to get into unless you really dig slow-burn jam sessions.
Bryan Away is really a chilled folkster hanging out releasing arty singles and that maybe his biggest problem. Nothing is like, nor does it really top the feelings that single evoked and so as a promotion tool for the EP it feels a bit misleading. Bryan does, however, have a real gift for making gentler folk songs with the occasional weird tense moment in them though and if there’s more of that to come in the future, I’ll definitely be returning.
Recommended track: Give In
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