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brendan james

Brendan James’ The Day is Brave, an extension of his EP, The Ballroom Break In, has all the makings of a lyrical and musical masterpiece at times, but certain elements hold the album back from turning into a pure experience and leave it merely teetering on the edge where fans of the genre and related artists will gobble this it up, whereas non-fans aren’t likely to indulge for too long, or at all.

The Day is Brave, spanning eleven tracks and nearly 45 minutes of music, has a fatal flaw: consistency to the point of almost exasperation. From the second the album starts, only the lead off track “Green“; picks up a faster, more energetic tempo, leaving the remaining cuts in the doldrums of slow, sometimes plodding, yet melodic music. The album bleeds together like water colors doused in a bucket of water, almost forming one endless stream with no breaking points in between. Consistency isn’t usually something that would hamper an artist, and we’ve called out bands before for maintaining or breaking that unfailing sound (see: Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight), but James’ finished work seems to be hampered. It isn’t because the music is any less well done, quite the opposite in fact, but you’re listening to a 45 minute track rather than a masterful, well built collection.

As you listen to The Day is Brave you’re relaxed as James’ voice shifts you into a tranquil mood, accompanied by masterful piano work, you drift off and take in the sound. Its almost as though you’re being smoothly hypnotized, but the album never breaks out with that sudden hit, that energy you are looking for to change your mood, change your feelings, make you feel something else besides being in a perpetual state and completely static.

Brendan James is a true songwriter, this is obvious from the high production values and tracks contained within, however the aforementioned qualms make the album sometimes hard to listen to simply because you can’t tell where one track, one thought, ends, and another one begins.  Leading us to the original point, fans of the genre are going to find a lot to love here with a smooth voice, great songwriting, and great production values; James is bound to attract Elton John-like fans. Those looking for even a single track capable of breaking the cycle are going to be disappointed as the album finishes much like it began.