Steven Bryan is an artist from the UK who recently released Gravity Always Wins. Before I started listening I read that his influences range from Thom Yorke to Bob Dylan and he makes indie rock.
To be honest his album sounds nothing like Dylan or Yorke and I would not classify his music as indie rock. His music falls much more precisely into a category like pop or singer/songwriter.
The whole aesthetic with his breathy vocals to the palatable harmonies have an appeal that is more aligned with FM radio. Take for instance the hopeful and grand sounding opener entitled “Sing To Me” which has a popular uplifting vibe that you heard from band's like Coldplay and many other like minded band's. One thing that was evident throughout all the songs was how smooth it sounded.
The more folky “Dolled Up” is very warm for a number of reasons. It’s a very intimate sounding recording as if he is singing to you next to a cozy fireplace and both of you are sipping wine. Yes, the song is a bit seductive. “If Only” is another single ready type song that hits upon a folky pop vibe while “Lights” felt more dramatic and contemplative.
A personal favorite was “Mr Charm.” I really enjoyed the harmonies on this track and the instrumentation as well which actually reminded me a bit of Enya. “The Call” is perhaps how he defines an “indie track” but really it didn't seem to have much in common with bands like Wolf Parade, Modest Mouse or Grizzly Bear. As the album progressed the standout to my ears were “You Silly Thing” and “Open Your Eyes.”
At the end of the day I feel like Bryan made a good record that is firmly aligned with pop sensibilities. The production is great and songwriting is familiar at times but well executed. I don’t think this is a release that you will need a whole lot of time figuring out if this something for you. Do yourself a favor and judge for yourself.
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