Album Review: Speak, Brother - 'Young & Brave'

Rugby-based five-piece, Speak, Brother shares their impressive debut album, Young & Brave showcasing a contemporary blend of indie, folk and rock. 

'Young & Brave' is born from a wholesome familiarity that makes its listener feel connected to the record, even if it is the first time they are hearing the songs. The band's mainstream influences flow through the album in a very accessible way, but the album has huge rustic heart to it. Speak, Brother have been very astute in tracking the album so it moves with fluidity from anthemic to intimate in a way that the different emotions are fully felt.

'Magnificent' opens the album identifying what the band are all about in one neat package. It's huge  layered vocal harmonies meet earthy instrumentation. Its indie rock panache is instantly feel good and kicks the track off in an uptempo way, especially on its hearfelt, gushing chorus, "you have no idea how magnificent you are".

'When We Were Young' is a soaring song carved out of nostalgia. This track boasts one of my favourite heartfelt lines on the album, "keep my soul from growing old, guard my joy". There's a subtleness and gentles to the melodies that makes this a wholly affecting beautiful song, and the way the track builds to its ethereal instrumental crescendo is very emotional and pleasantly overwhelming.

Speak, Brother bring a mellower dose of emotion in 'The Pond Boy' which moves at a slower, stomping, breezy rhythm and once again displays Speak, Brothers heartfelt lyrics, while showing gospel influences before escalating into a cathartic Coldplay-esque ethereal vocal performance.

'Father' opens ambiently and transitions from mellow to anthemic with a grace and purpose that powerfully finds its listener lost in its huge layers. 'Lion's Roar' is an exciting track that has a really punchy hook that will appeal to of Monsters and Men fans, and satisfies my ever insatiable need for  strings.

'Man of Honour' is by far my favourite track on the album, it moves with a shadowy edge and idiosyncracy that broods and expands with a loveliness that seeps through to the soul and really connects. 'Two Bands of Gold' is a poignant track with a stripped, traditional folk feel to it that is almost baroque-influenced in its delivery.

'Young & Brave' is the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign and after almost two years in the making, I'm so glad the album has seen the light of day. This is a monumentally polished and lovingly crafted debut. I challenge you not to find at least one track on the record that you could fall in love with.

Words of Karla Harris