26 February, 2015 in Music Reviews
‘Songs From The Hive’s’ catchy songwriting sees youthful New York songwriter Brian Dunne making a bid for the big league
ew York songwriter Brian Dunne may have graduated from the Berklee College of Music, but his schooling has been firmly grounded in Hank Williams, Neil Young and Ryan Adams. And as you would expect of an artist whose sound takes in such references, his debut album Songs From The Hive is a record of folky Americana and heartbreaking country.
This marrying of styles is evident in the brilliant Crazy Heart Of Mine, a delicate, bluegrass-influenced track that yanks hard on Hank Williams’s patented sorrow, in the effortlessly catchy I’m Gonna Die Down and in Almost Feels Like You, which mixes an upbeat rhythm with downbeat melodies. Elsewhere, I Come To You could sit happily on Ryan Adams’ latest album and Slow Train has a reluctant singalong quality that has the ability to lift the spirits of any downtrodden listener.
It’s not all success, though. The excellent You’re Not Ready plays on a Youngian riff and tumbling vocal, yet it’s the only track to explore Dunne’s rockier side, while new single Born A Fool is just a little plodding, something that is in marked contrast to Dunne’s candid and evocative voice. It’s rare though that Dunne gets it wrong and this is largely because of that wonderful voice, with its contrasting sense of strength and fragility playing on country’s hallmark of the tear marked cowboy.
Songs From The Hive is a folk- and country-inflected debut that’s enjoyable, comforting and mournful, one that will provide the soundtrack for a lonely drive into the heart of a drowning sun.
Verdict: A well crafted and bittersweet debut