Brand New Storm- Life Trees The Sea EP
Record Label: Self Released
Release Date: May 2, 2012
Brave New Storm is a folk/post-rock/epic/’generally atmospheric but still poppy enough for a hum-along’ six piece from Sheffield, UK. The band consisting of; Siobhan Bligh (lead vocals and guitar), Patrick English (vocals, keys, and guitar), Matthew Peffers (bass), Blai Covas (violin), Michael Waller (cello) and Thomas Sprackland (percussion) have just released their debut four track demo/EP, Life Trees The Sea. So, how is it?
Well, simply put, it’s very good. Throughout the EP, Bligh and English’s vocals entwine above the haunting, atmospheric instrumentation that encompasses each track. The release opens with 'Life I', an entirely acapella track. The vocals form a chant, heavy with repetition, and when teamed with the sound of waves crashing in the far off background, they make for an instantly striking and organic opener. Actually, organic is a suitable word for the entire release. Nothing is too flashy, and whilst there is an abundance of instruments used on the release, it never comes across as bombastic or over the top. This simplicity is the key to separating Brave New Storm from their peers.
The release never sounds forced, and this is very obvious on the second track, 'Life II'. It never changes pace, and maintains a hypnotic, mid paced vibe. After a laidback, simple riff, contrastingly frail male vocals and strong female vocals give the song a beautifully delicate feel. The song continues to build up without ever reaching a pinnacle, which works brilliantly to lead up to ‘Under Trees’, the most upbeat, folk-y track off the release. Still fairly downbeat, the acoustic guitar makes it more accessible than its predecessors whilst still maintaining the laidback feel of the other tracks. It may not be instantly catchy but after repeat listens it does subtly lodge itself in the consciousness.
The EP closes with 'Bliss', the release’s only instrumental track. It builds slowly by melding together violins, cellos and sparse guitars. Whilst short, it perfectly closes off an excellent release.
Overall, Life Trees The Sea, is probably one of the best demos that I’ve ever heard. Now, that might seem like slightly dubious praise, considering demos aren’t exactly famed for brilliance, but this release is on a par with bands with many years more experience. It’s extremely difficult to find any aspect of the release that needs to be changed or improved upon. Brave New Storm has released one of the best EPs of the year so far, and one can only imagine where they’ll go from here.