From the first jangling of tambourine and the pleasingly strong acoustic guitar on Ross Lowe’s album Flames To Burn, I was already more than ready to sign my ears away to this fun and energetic brand of simple songwriting. “It’s in your eyes,” polished the track perfectly with its powerful gang vocal resonating in a way that sounded like friends finding inspiration singing around a fire. This excerpt is brought to you by the aptly named “It’s In Your Eyes” a no-brainer single if I’ve ever heard one. That’s a tall order when you’re considering an album with 18 tracks, but sometimes your gut can’t be swayed and song order is key. Not that the best always has to be the first track, but it better be in the first half at least.
Moving forward, Flames To Burn continues to grow with instrumentation and breathe originality with increasingly drawn out pace. Several songs string together a ballad theme showing a deeper side of Lowe and yet we lose the sense of motion that worked so well earlier.
“Animal Balloon” finds itself in discordance with the overall sound of the album and marks a low point on the descent from affectionate and attractive structure. The tone is too drastic and makes you hopeful for a rise back toward more relatable material. Thankfully, “Travelling Home” and “One More Day” are just a few minutes away, waiting in the wings like a colorful pair of complimenting moods.
“Maybe I Don’t Want To” introduces electronic elements most notably in the drums and the sprinkling triads in the upper register. That trusty acoustic sits underneath it all making the husky vocals feel right at home. On a chill tip, this song is the winner hands down.
It has a confrontational gesture in the lyrics but plays like a late summer breeze with a cute and light melody. More of this instrumentation would definitely enhance this album’s core. Lowe has moments of stylistic bliss he just needs to take a close look at that which leaves an impression with the least amount of work. Those are the songs to build your sound from.
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