Now, there’s a stone-cold country music album title if ever I saw one. From that alone, you might be forgiven for conjuring up images of a lone, be-hatted and blue-jeaned cowboy troubadour packing his guitar and dog into the passenger seat of his pickup truck and driving off into the sunset. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth, and as you drop the virtual needle on the digital track, what emerges is a deft and dexterous rock-pop album of quite epic proportions.
There is a slight feel of the eighties about the music in places, but why not? That was the heyday of the big, anthemic, pop-rock sound, and what Brannon does so well is to take that tried and tested formula and bring it bang up-to-date. We Are Powerful, which kicks things off and does the groundwork for the listening experience to follow, is a stadium-ready, fist-in-the-air slice of rock—both accessible and epic.
But having established this recognisable form, they quickly prove that they have much more in their musical arsenal than this one signature sound. Without You I’d Die is a restrained and understated ballad that, rather than fit into any genre or style, is better described as classic, or at least in the classic mould. Off My Mind is another track built on subtlety and suppleness, a lilting and lovely combination of pop melodics and rock weight, an ebb and flow of delicacy and drive.
And surprisingly, despite the allusions I associated it with above, the title track is a stomping, punchy, staccato blast of emotional lyricism and less than quiet reflection—immediate music driving powerful and poignant lyrics.
Brannon has released many different kinds of albums and collaborated with artists from many genres, and this broad musical education gathered through collaboration and time served is clear from this album. It may be a rock album at its heart. Still, it is incredibly pop-aware, plays with excellent dynamic – from folky lows to hard rock crescendoes – and appeals as much to the discerning classic rocker or alt-rock aficionado as it does to the mainstream pop-picker or chart-minded music fan.
That’s a lot of ground to cover, but Brannon does it easily and effortlessly.