Brazos, Phosphorescent Blues

Brazos, Phosphorescent Blues

Good songwriters are a dime a dozen, so it’s become difficult to pick out the ones that are truly worth your time and money. And the whole acoustic alternative/indie-folk genre has almost become a joke because of all the generically good-but-not-great artists it churns out regularly. Because of that, it might be easy to disregard Brazos’ Phosphorescent Blues after a cursory listen, thinking of it as just another one of those mediocre somebodies. But if you stick around a while and pay attention, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised.

This album makes me smile. Despite the somewhat understated, soft feeling of them, there is a barely-contained, youthful urgency in all of the songs that grabs your attention initially. You can hear it in the light, swift drumming on “Tell” and the pounding piano on “Downtown Boys.” This urgency pairs well with singer Martin Crane’s meandering singing, which falls somewhere inbetween Chris Martin (Coldplay) and Nathan Willett (Cold War Kids). Together with a background of dreamy, smooth guitar, and echoey drums, it creates a soft canvas of comforting and rich sound.

However mellow Phosphorescent Blues may sound, though, it’s not one to fall asleep to. The vast amount of effort and talented songwriting that went into this album is apparent in just how incredibly interesting every song is. Crane’s unique lyrics, full of images of childhood and  best friends, are both charming and though-provoking, especially on “My Buddy,” “Tell,” and “Downtown Boys.”

The one song that stands apart from those themes is “The Observer,” and it’s a true gem. The lyrics are actually from a poem by the same name, written by Adrienne Rich and then set to music by Martin Crane. The product is truly beautiful. If you’re deciding whether or not to buy the album, listen to this, then decide.

Brazos have a very definite and unique sound that they stick to throughout the album,  which has songwriting like Joni Mitchell’s and a neo-blues/indie-rock sound somewhere in between Blitzen Trapper and Cold War Kids. This being said, they don’t seem to feel like they can’t adventure a little bit. Both “The Observer” and the all-piano, classically pretty “Pues” domnstrate that.

The major appeals of Phosphorescent Blues are that 1) it’s majorly accessible, 2) it’s good music, and 3) it’s friendly, it’s unpretentious, and it makes you feel good. It’s a wonderful debut album from an up-and-coming, talented young band, and I look forward to whatever they decide to do next.

(Autobus Records -- P.O. Box 644, Austin, TX. 78767-0644;; Brazos --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “Brazos, Phosphorescent Blues

  1. bed bug on September 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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