Lonely The Brave have been deliberately quiet these last few months, working on new material and reassessing what has come before.
This has been all the more noticeable because before then, they had never stopped: last year alone saw them secure a no.1 on the rock chart with their second LP “Things Will Matter”, sell-out a headline tour and play main support on a hugely successful European tour with Biffy Clyro, followed with a thematically linked series of EP’s which have shown the sheer depth of strong material that was available to them around that second record.
But despite their successes, Lonely The Brave have never been like their peers, never calculated the game in quite the same way they have, never shot from the same angle. From their stage dynamics, to their influences, to covering the likes of Bjork, Pink Floyd and Antony & The Johnsons, they have always been proud of their differences and in what has staunchly set them apart from the others who have now fallen by the wayside. They followed the release of their critically acclaimed debut “The Day’s War” with an extended version including several Redux tracks that reinvented material rather than simply stripping it back and they follow this theme of insular reinvention again now on a full Redux album version of “Things Will Matter”. Melody and heart will always be at the centre of what they do, but Lonely The Brave are here to prove once again that they will always continue to do things that other bands can’t.
Opening with the extremely personal title track “Things Will Matter”, a live favourite which was not featured on the album of the same name, frontman David Jakes tackles his relationship with his father and addresses mortality in an emotive song that finally sees a studio version. And from here the band revisit material from the last album, this time pushing an electronic influence to the forefront – the likes of Brainfeeder’s Lorn, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Mogwai and more inform a sound that now incorporates synths, programming and atmospherics in a way they haven’t before. David is also pushed further to the front here, just as he has managed to do in recent live shows, reminding you exactly why he is one of the most gifted vocalists in recent memory.
The likes of “What If You Fall In” trade in some of the expanse of the full record for intimacy and beauty instead, and the album’s singles are given second life – especially the haunting harmonies that now envelope “Radar” and the piano-led “Rattlesnakes”. Elsewhere, the major chords and bombast of “Strange Like I” are replaced with something otherworldly and obtuse instead – and this follows through into the score-like “Jaws Of Hell” which somehow takes the original and expands on its ambition further, feeling like it would be as fitting an end to a film as it is an album.
At their most anthemic, or at their most vulnerable, Lonely The Brave remain an inarguably important act. Where they head for the next album remains to be seen, but you know that if they can keep their heads we will be rewarded with another record on their own terms that will always stand proudly apart from the rest.
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