Advance Review - The Brook & The Bluff - First Place (October 25, 2019)
Sweet, soft, and harmonious. These are the best three words I have to describe ‘First Place’, the upcoming release from The Brook & The Bluff.
I am going to break my typical format to write about this album. The reason: it is a well-constructed album in which the songs fit the same feel. What does that mean? Well, anyone who has read my reviews knows that I love when musicians create a complete album. Yes, people can argue that songs created during the same period will sound similar, but building a solid album is more than that. It is finding a thread and weaving everything together. The Brook & The Bluff accomplish this with mood and tone.
“That is all good,” you say, “but tell me something about ‘First Place’.”
During my first listen, I struggled to figure out what it reminded me of. I couldn’t figure it out until “Halfway Up,” and then it hit me. First Place is what I imagine listening to an entire John Mayer album must feel like. I come from Athens, Ohio, and saying you listen to John Mayer is like saying you watch KUWTK. However, those who follow Dead & Company know he is more than his pop music. He is a talented musician who found his place in the music market, and I have mad respect for that. As a musician, you need to play to an audience and if you understand the industry, it is more than selling out. It is finding a way to pay the bills so you can work on other projects. But I am digressing. Back to First Place. Described to me as an album that comes “from summer days growing up in Birmingham, where it was raining in pure sunlight and centers around a long distance relationship lost,” I will say that the song are tightly finished and set an easy, somber mood. Most of the album reminds me of John Mayer, but “Pastels” starts out like “Two Step” from Dave Matthews, and “Hallways” made me think of Coldplay. It is an album I would listen to after a tiring day of too much stress; on a long drive when the sun is shining bright and I feel at one with the world; or on my earbuds, walking around, ignoring everyone else. It is peaceful, never aggressive, and also never pretentious. I believe, with the right ears listening, The Brook & The Bluff may find their music on radio stations and playlists across the nation. Final Thought: In this review, I did not focus on the songs, but the album and its feel as a whole. This should not detract from First Place. It is well constructed and easy to listen to. 4 out of 5