Friday, March 18, 2011

Album Review: Braveyoung - We Are Lonely Animals

I'm declaring a moratorium on using the words "atmospheric," "haunting," and "ethereal," for this review. Not only do I believe those adjectives are thrown around too carelessly for any band willing to indulge in a few moments of instrumental glee, I believe Braveyoung's We Are Lonely Animals deserves different, better musical jargon for its accomplishments. Instead of existing within the fences of adrenaline-driven instrumental work or the fade-to-the-background mindset of minimalism, Braveyoung find themselves nestled within that warm center between the two extremes. We Are Lonely Animals is an isolated path of tinged despair sprinkled throughout fine instrumental work, and the experience listeners receive is absolutely worth the trudge through the resonating emotions of grief and loneliness that come along with it.

With a comforting sound of neutrality within their noise level, We Are Lonely Animals presents itself with a pacing in its volume that compliments its ghastly emotions. That's not to say it doesn't know when to get loud; Braveyoung has simply exerted a keen sense of balance between the few rises in volume it has and the predominate quieter aspects.  If you're enraptured by the idea of an instrumental record that knows its place rather than attempting to stretch beyond its boundaries with theatrics, We Are Lonely Animals and its open heart may have just the sound for you.

The record opens into the blissful piano performance of "Flesh and Bone," one of the most standout openings to an album I've heard yet this year. Its brevity only manages to assist its impact, and the shushed crawl of the preceding track "How Each Friend Departed (Thus Do the Gods)" ends up becoming its perfect compliment. The general lack of unnecessary noise throughout We Are Lonely Animals is perhaps its most endearing trait; Braveyoung know when to pull their punches and let the lapses in sound do the emotional work for them. The distorted drum beats of the aforementioned "How Each Friend Departed (Thus Do the Gods)" build to a crescendo before ultimately bottoming out into the pit of swelling dark notes in the beginning of "And No Two Walked Together."

Due to the ubiquitous sense of darkness of the record, it becomes difficult to point out singular moments worthy of note. If I was forced to choose a particular opus however, the billowing echoes of guitar work in "Our Teeth Are Falling Out" that eventually become drowned out in perhaps the most impressive string work present on the album is the closest one gets to a stand out track on We Are Lonely Animals. Ultimately the album deserves to be heard as a cohesive piece, but that song in particular is one that feels comprehensive enough in all of Braveyoung's characteristics to deserve special mention.

Braveyoung's only experimentation with vocals just happens to be the song that contains the hollowest sense of sadness present on the album. "The Weight of Loss is Whole" and its slow acoustic crawl is assisted by the low murmur of singing that manages be vital without crossing into the realm of overpowering the instrument. Braveyoung's loudest presence on the record, with astonishingly similarity to If These Trees Could Talk, is in the crushing metallic riffs of "The Light Narrows." The song isn't a sacrifice of aural consistency throughout the record as much as it feels like a catharsis of pent-up emotion to that point. The darker qualities of the record still exist within the tumbling cacophony of guitars, and it is an exciting high point for We Are Lonely Animals.

Having no expectations of what I would find when entering Braveyoung's sound, I am now quite pleased with my decision to jump into the depressing world of We Are Lonely Animals. Braveyoung refrain from taking obvious pains to drag listeners through spectacular displays of volume to make their point, and instead use ambiance and a slow pace to their advantage in laying out their sound to listeners. I could lay criticisms at Braveyoung's feet for what felt like unnecessary vocal work, perhaps a few tracks that felt unneeded (particularly the ending title track), and maybe even the lack of variety in their overall sound. All those are present and acknowledged, but the experience of We Are Lonely Animals as a whole is too cohesive of a piece to waste time picking at the few qualities that detract from it. Braveyoung have spent a great deal of time building up to this debut, and it's good to see that it was time well spent as We Are Lonely Animals is an excellent, if not a bit sorrowful experience.

Track Listing:
  1. Flesh And Bone 
  2. How Each Friend Departed (Thus Do The Gods)
  3. And No Two Walked Together
  4. Our Teeth Are Falling Out
  5. Dark Days, Including After Midnight
  6. The Weight Of Loss Is Whole
  7. The Light Narrows
  8. We Are Lonely Animals
Buy it here.

1 comment:

  1. what movie has the begging of 'our teeth are falling out' in it? please help.