Brave Bird - Maybe You, No One Else Worth It
Record Label: Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Coming from the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Brave Bird is trio of dudes that seemingly like to do two things – write pretty adventurous guitar parts and do a rather poetic version of explaining life struggles. It’s not a particularly new formula, but on their debut LP Maybe You, No One Else Worth It, Brave Bird proves they can certainly hang with the comparisons this record is sure to garner both from their genre choice and their ability to (softly) shred in the process. It isn’t without some need of clarity at times, but for a first go at things, this record finds a band worth keeping your eye on in the mean time.
“Too Late Now” opens the record with an aching pace to set the scene for everything this band is about. Off-base shout-sing vocals, weaving melodies and confident drumming anchor this band through the both the upbeat and solemn moments of this record, whether it be the catchy riffs of “Whittle Down the Days” or the more deliberate plucking moments of “Healthy”. At times, these guys can remind you of Brand New, other times This Town Needs Guns in a way – the musicianship of some of these guitar parts is quite attentive in terms of structuring and writing, even if it detracts a bit from the flow of the songwriting at times.
Another make or break point is arguably the vocal approach, which for fans of what could be dubbed modern emo shouldn’t be a far-out sound. It certainly takes a particular ear to enjoy them when it could probably be said that a bit more vocal variety or contrast could make this album a little bit more accessible. That being said though, the combination of gruff singing, gangish vocals and barely above speaking lines sprinkled through the record has its moments when the blend between rough and lush has a pretty hypnotic effect. The title track in particular is a place where you’ll hear a slightly different idea of things from Brave Bird, yet through the off-kilter drumming and restrained vocals in the verses this track has a hint of wonder to it only nudged at times by the wispy guitar licks that poke through at times. It’s perhaps not an idea of less is more, but finding spots where the more can be a bit more appreciated, and that song does it perhaps better than faster tunes – “Scared Enough” does it well enough at times but not quite as effectively.
But in trying to pick apart the application of musicianship on this record – a reasonable but arguable process – it’s easy to overlook how good these guys can be at times. While the tensive melodies and post-teen angst do enough to get your heart into this record, the selling point, at least to me, lies in the ability for Brave Bird to apply their jamming nature in conjunction with their ability to write some more than respectable verses and choruses. I might not be willing to suggest they can’t do both – the proof is on this record – but finding the right balance seems to be something they are still tinkering with.
While not perfect, the foundation Maybe You, No One Else Worth It sets for Brave Bird in terms of recorded output is a rather strong one. The seeds are particularly planted for this to be a band for people who love noodling guitars with some indie-rock sensibility to boot – a notion that is executed quite well at times here. For what it is worth though, Brave Bird does enough through these ten tracks to warrant a listen, if even just to hear the sweet sound of blistering guitars in a perhaps less abrasive atmosphere.