By Alessandro Improta
It is my job as a reviewer to do some research and know about the band I’m writing about. But apart from learning that they’re a band from Riverton made up of Matthew Davies and Josh Stephens, I couldn’t find any information on Brickson. Their Facebook page is sparse at best, and their website doesn’t actually exist. We simply got an email from one of the members letting us know that Brickson exists and that they released an album on June 16th. Not knowing what to expect, I turned on Away and was pleasantly surprised. This album is filled with good songwriting and original ideas.
First thing I want to mention about this album is that it truly plays as a whole. With gapless playback and smooth, interesting transitions, there are several times during my first couple listens that I wasn’t even sure when I went from one track to the next. The other thing I’d like to mention is that this album is pretty varied. One track will get heavier and has the lead singer yelling at the top of his lungs with his vocals heavily affected, and another track will be acoustic with a soft, intimate vocal delivery. This is definitely a good thing. Considering the fact that it’s gapless, if the songs were too similar it would feel like twelve tracks of the same song. Instead, this album is a trip. Seriously. It’s a musical journey that will play with your emotions and take you to interesting locales. Brickson’s genre sits somewhere between alternative rock, punk, and pop, but has more pop leanings than any of the other two.
If I had to show one track to represent Brickson’s music, I would play “II.” Groovy drums and bass, with atmospheric guitar and synth. Vocals go from calm and collected to frantic yelling – not screaming. I would associate screaming with what is often heard in metal or metalcore. Yelling, to me, is just singing loudly and aggressively. The vocal performance is emotional and raw and resonated with me.
“Atlantic” is probably my favorite track on the album. This sounds like the kind of thing that would be on a FIFA video game soundtrack. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t have enough FIFA in your life. But I digress. It has the sound of a modern rock song. It kind of has a “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” by Portugal. The Man feel (hear it here). The affected vocals and electronic elements – like the crescendo in the background from 0:21 to 0:25 – make it less alternative/punk and more pure pop/rock. However, there is some yelling in it that keeps the harsher feel that’s present throughout the album. All in all, I think this is their best written song. At least it’s the one I keep finding myself going back to listen to.
I don’t have a whole lot by way of criticism. They do some pretty awesome things in this album. Check out the transition between the first two songs or the bass on “I” and you’ll know exactly what I mean. My only criticisms are based completely on my own tastes.
The production is very professional on this album. Almost too professional. Personally, I wish that the album as a whole was more raw. The production is just too polished. The vocals are a perfect example of this. The vocals are almost always affected, and most likely pitch corrected. This is especially weird when their lead singer is yelling. Yelling should be raw, and genuine, and emotional. The production in this case takes away from that. It doesn’t quite resonate with me as strongly as it should because of it.
Truthfully though, I was very impressed with this album. My biggest conclusion after hearing it is that I want to hear Brickson live. I would be interested in seeing what that performance would be like without the polished production of the recordings. As always, I am happy to see something local that isn’t the usual Provo music, and I would easily recommend, and have already recommended this album to my friends. Brickson’s Away deserves to be listened to way more than it’s being listened to right now.
Make sure to like Brickson on Facebook. You can listen to Away in its entirety below.