The front cover of “Crown” by The Broken Island, is probably the first thing that really attracted me to this release. The crashing waves of the ocean seem to pose a threatening message to those who dare facing them, representing the stunning duality of nature. It’s all so beautiful and majestic, yet it also feels dangerous and somewhat mysterious.
The Broken Islands managed to create a sound that’s just as equally endearing as their artwork. “Crown” begins with big, lush piano chords, and the vocals come into the mix gently, yet soaring right at the front. The production is crisp, elegant and bright, going for a clear and direct edge, yet retaining a certain warm tone with a bit of a vintage twist.
An argument can be made that music of all genres are different iterations and expressions of the human soul. It’s that word though, soul, which has truly been able to define a very specific type and level of understanding and vulnerability and power in honest expression. For DEVIN, it requires only the simplest elements. A piano performance, a snap-beat and a chance to let herself shine through is all that’s needed for a soulful performance. To capture something so beautiful and so simple is a tradition of R&B, but all the more reason to respect these styles. Bring You In is DEVIN’s invitation to stop your day, clear your mind and focus on only this gorgeous sonic message.
Despite the rudimentary nature of the mix, it’s not right to discount the music as lazy. While the spotlight remains on the smooth and caring vocal performance, the piano isn’t just dropping compressed loops like a lot of musicians who strive for minimalism. There’s heart in every stroke. The snaps don’t provide much rhythmic variety, but act as a grounding element coming from something more intimate than the traditional metronome or bass and snare combo. In some ways, this incredibly basic beat can be called more intentional and romantic than layered beats with a richer sense of motion. All things said and done, this song is beautiful and worth slowing down your daily momentum to appreciate.
Mystic Tears makes music that is as enigmatic as the project’s name. Their single, “Shine” is haunting and beautiful – a melancholic ballad that makes me think of the quieter moments of artists such as Soundgarden or Nine Inch Nails, just to mention a few. The drums have a floating groove that really fits with the sparse, gentle guitars and with the sultry vocal performances. The track has a nice, sustained feel throughout its duration, but it definitely opens up to a stunning climax towards its end. The playing gets more intense, and new layers of tone seamlessly bring something new to the mix. The beautiful lead guitar work and stunning vocal solos make me think of timeless acts such as Pink Floyd, but re-imagined in a refreshing modern way.
In conclusion, this track feels like a musical journey: its arrangement its deceptively simple and direct, but the song’s emotional impact is huge. This is one of those tracks that really compel you to focus and listen, stopping whatever else you were doing at the moment and solely concentrate on the music!