Grey Reverend's music has been bubbling under as a jealously guarded secret for those in the know for a little while now. Fortunately, his sophomore album ‘A Hero’s Lie’ threatens to expose his raw musical power to the rest of the world. Collaborator and label mate J. Swinscoe (The Cinematic Orchestra) will release the album on his Motion Audio imprint this summer. Fresh from his stunning, highly charged turn on Bonobo's North Borders, L.
D Brown’s musical catharsis is ready to be unveiled.
Music is the Brooklyn based Brown’s way of connecting to the world, and A Hero’s Lie is about as direct and profound a connection as is likely to be found in contemporary music. Like his influences and the artists he’s often compared to – Elliott Smith, Jose Gonzales, Ray Lamontagne and Will Oldham – Brown’s work is raw both emotionally and musically. Often consisting simply of his rich, enthralling voice and distinctive, percussive guitar style, his songs are enhanced with bluesy piano, organic electronic accents and textural elements.
Opener ‘Everlasting’ ensnares the ear with its driving, plucked melody and yearning vocal. The listener is immediately enveloped by the album’s atmosphere - as invigorating as an autumnal breeze. 'My Hands' crooning vocal is instantly classic, and feels all the more valuable for the rarity of its approach. ‘This Way’s’ tentative, timeless melody and deceptively simple lyric give way to soaring, elemental textures that defy the brain not to generate the most vivid accompanying images.
‘Only One’s’ vigour recalls Brown’s admiration for Elliott Smith, and the latter’s ability to walk the fine line between huge psychic uplift and beautifully expressed despair. 'The Payoff is an emotional centrepiece; a meditation on the passage of time and co existence that’s startlingly affecting. The album's atmosphere is also informed by the loss of Brown's close friend and collaborator Austin Peralta, who tragically died in 2012. Peralta's stunning piano playing can be heard on 'The Payoff'. ‘Little Jose’ – the album’s only instrumental, and a sequel to 'Little Eli' from Grey Reverend's debut album – is a finely picked guitar solo written for Jose Gonzales. The short, sweet song unmoors the listener completely before dragging them along in its glorious, swirling current.
Brown decided to produce A Hero’s Lie himself, playing percussive elements, keys and a homemade mellotron as well as his signature rhythmic, raw guitar. The decision has paid off in spades, perhaps enhancing the cohesive sense of the album and its internal logic and recurring themes. This is an album that has been put together with the utmost sincerity. As a result, it is really, seriously good.