Brave – Searching for the Sun

up_031504_braveBrave are an excellent bunch of musicians who have learned to craft some captivating music in their past life as Arise From Thorns, and under their new moniker present an enjoyable if ultimately not completely fulfilling album under the name Searching for the Sun. The music is sort of a mix of dark heavy rock and adult contemporary, mixing distorted guitars and big chords with progressive rock and folk influences and glossing it all over with the pretty vocals of Michelle Branch. While her simple melodies dominate the band’s sound, it is the instrumental framework which gives the music its strength, each member understanding his role well and filling it perfectly. Special mention should be made of bassist Chris Welborn, a solid pocket player who is obviously an accomplished and diverse musician, something that could really be said of the entire band. The main hindrance to Brave is that there is not much differentiation between tracks, partially due to Michelle’s limited range and vocal lines, but also due to a lack of rhythmic dynamics and progression within the songs. This being the case, the strongest tracks are those that stick out for one reason or another – either because of infectious hooks (the first few tracks) or because of an atypical vocal line (“Bleed Into Me,” which features harmonies that are too rare throughout) or guitar sound (“New Beginning,” for example, builds from a clean muted vamp to a big-chord chorus, and a catchy one at that). Listening to Searching for the Sun in its entirety is satisfying insofar as there’s nothing really wrong with it, but ultimately I find myself thinking that they could have done better and hence find myself a bit disappointed. However, even with that being the case I enjoy this album a lot, much more than I would have expected to had someone described it to me ahead of time. If they keep the somewhat dark or sad vibe to their music I’ll be interested to hear their next effort, but if they got much more commercial than this I don’t think I could stand it. Even here “Candle in the Dark” sounds like it should be playing over the credits of the latest Disney movie. But Brave are actually a bit heavier than Arise From Thorns ever was (it’s all the same members, and a similar sound – just slightly different – more rock, less folk), so perhaps the future looks bright. Er, dark. – Aaron J. Klamer

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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