Benjamin Brekke is a solo artist who recently released a five-song EP entitled Be Not Afraid. Be Not Afraid is a mixed effort showcasing some solid performances and songs. Each song has a distinct flavor and shows a difference side to Brekke’s strengths. I should tell you now there are overt Christian themes within the music. Brekke is a bit more open about his relationship with that as opposed to someone like Sufjan Stevens. The symbolism and references aren’t ambiguous.
The EP starts with “Love Came Down” which sounds like ‘90s alternative rock and all the tropes that comes with that. That being said, there were some inspired moments that occasionally shine through. I thought the highlight of the EP was “Better Man.” How can you really resist the combination of tuba and ukulele? It really is pretty fantastic. There are also some other horns in the mix, which elevate the song. It’s an infectious song overall and arguably contains the best vocal performance.
The next song “Little Things (St. Therese)” is a pretty infectious, upbeat song. It starts with a Penny Lane type vibe but gets a little lost along the way. The verse is solid but Brekke’s voice starts to break when he sings the line “I don’t have the strength for it all.” Next is the warm, acoustic based “Mercy.” It rides like a Goo Goo Dolls song with the soft yet kind of grandiose music. It wasn’t a personal favorite but possibly the most commercial sounding and single worthy out of the five.
The EP ends with “Risen.” I’m sure even if you aren't Christian you can figure out what it’s about. Themes aside the song has a Matchbox Twenty vibe that sounds unequivocally ‘90s. Brekke is hit and miss on this song. There are some lines he hits and others that made me think he still needs to find his sweet spot.
In all honestly Be Not Afraid will be hard to get down with if you aren’t down with JC. Brekke’s convictions to god are apparent and if you hold similar beliefs then I can surmise that you will be more inclined to enjoy this. Either way the song with the tuba and ukulele should be able to be enjoyed by people of all religious denominations and even atheists.
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