Review: Breen – Say What You Want EP
THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY MUSIC NEWS.
It is often suggested that music goes in cyclitic stages. What is a hit today will be reacted against tomorrow, and you only have to glance at the singles charts right now to know that the loudness war is taking its toll on our eardrums, as everyone tries to out-blast one another with dense soundscapes with no room for instrumentation or vocal ability to breathe.
The latest generation of up and coming artists seem to be fighting against that trend, with stripped back acoustic or electronic works that put emotions up front, and technical wizardry round the back, where it may not be so obvious. Like To Be Frank before him, 20-year old singer-songwriter Breen is letting the material’s heart and soul do all the posturing, instead of the production, on his debut EP.
Lead track Say What You Want combines brooding acapella beats with a falsetto Justin Timberlake would be envious of, before a restrained rnb groove kicks in underneath a tale of dismissive attitudes and isolation. With some inventive vocal sampling, the track feels as if it is building to a huge expansion that never quite arrives, making it all the more effective.
The mood is lightened by second track Twisted, demonstrating glossy production, a strong groove and snarling lyrics can combine into an infectious ear-worm. Elsewhere, Kicking Back takes a surprising jaunt into New Jack Swing, with its eclectic mind-warping harking back to Prince or Michael Jackson circa 1991.
Fourth track Through sees the voice drop down from that shining falsetto, and the results feel slightly too retro boy-band: we’re talking Colour Me Badd and EYC rather than Boyzone and Westlife, of course. Somehow it still works, in spite of the limitations of the digital instrumentation, though this track might sound glorious given an acoustic makeover.
All in all, this is a fairly solid start for a new artist, who is already mixing and matching inspirations and influences from across the board, and if there’s any justice, he’ll be bothering the charts before too long.
Say What You Want is available now via Soundcloud. Listen to the full EP below.