The latest release from Oliver James Brooks is entitled I Don't but I Will. This release was recorded live in a studio and contains the sparsest songs I’ve heard from him. The tools in his arsenal are guitar, vocals and a harmonica that shows up every once in a while.
The mood here is reflective, intimate and melancholy. I was getting more Elliott Smith type of vibes than perhaps ever before. That sort of vibe has always been in the cocktail of his music but it feels more prevalent on this release. I think it was the songwriting but also the recording quality this time around. The songs are well recorded and intimate sounding. It feels like he is singing about a foot away from you.
The first song is entitled “Whatever This Is” and the lyrics are vague and sort of haunting. It could be interpreted as something like depression or anxiety but the way he was describing it felt like a demon that wouldn’t leave him alone. That in itself could be a metaphor.
“I Don’t Know Why” is another solid song. This song seems to revolve around doubt, regret and confusion. “And Around” goes deeper down the road of doubt. He still doesn't seem to know the reason why things are happening the way they are. The lyrics are vague and slightly more ambiguous and poetic on this song.
“Lonely Prisoner” at least in terms of the music felt brighter and more joyful than the previous songs. The change in emotional character is subtle but effective. Up next is “Underneath It All” was a solid song but “Flyin’ Real Low” seemed like a highlight to my ears.
Last up is “Closer” which I have to admit had really depressing lyrics. It seemed to be about isolation and finding yourself distancing from another person. The end felt bittersweet.
This is a very welcome addition to the Oliver James Brooks discography. It's unequivocally his most intimate and naked sounding that I have heard from him. Recommended.
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