Review ‘The Ones That We Left Behind’: Music Won’t Save You
The following is an English translation of an Italian text. Thanks to Linda Citterio for the her time in translating the text.
Original author: Raffaelo Russo
Website: Music Won’t Save You
The name “Calming River” says already a lot about the music content of the project created by Danish living Joshua Brain: a peaceful uninterrupted flow, with subtle melancholic contours, characterises his tracks, which yet are not neglected or monochords, but they rather focus on intricate acoustic filigrees and on his soft but vibrant vocal timbre, on the edge of a slight tension.
However, as in “Afflict and Redeem”, the album from the past year, the Calming River palette is not limited to the songwriter guitar and voice only, because the expanded times of Brain´s ‘light-shadow’ songs provide suspended interstices where strings arrangements and rhythmic shades sketch in. Hence, a fluid and dynamic essentiality characterises the four tracks of the EP “The Ones That We Left Behind”, soaked with human frailty but with great expressive power, in a sad-core groove of suffused chamber traits.
The violin of DJ Alvaro Suarez gives such depth to the fluid picking and to Brain´s soft harmonies. His sorrowful voice is on the verge of breaking in the wonderful opening “The Actress Pt. II”.
Muffled environments underlie also the other three tracks of the EP. These tracks have slightly firmer structures, even nervous in the sudden final rise of “Art Of Wire”. These structures let foresee enchanted bucolic accents (the final flute of “Solemn Witness”) and a mysterious circularity, that almost reminds the painful beginnings of Mark Kozelek, blazing up in a controlled rise of lyricism (“Inertia Fire”).
Brain´s songs are framed by intro and/or instrumental endings, that not only highlight the warm acoustic textures of the Danish artist, but also brush cameos of chamber music — an ideal complement of introspective songwriting, being precise, peaceful and smooth.