Tuesday, November 01, 2011

In the Cradle of a Song

“You’re the greatest love I’ve ever known.” When Brandon Schott sings it in This Is Home, rest assured it isn’t mere hyperbole. Lesser artists bury such a heartfelt line in flippant three-minute pop songs that sting with fleeting pleasure. Brandon lays it so bare on one of the sparsest songs on his new album 13 Satellites that it resonates through every carefully crafted note on the whole album. In just a moment it is stunningly clear that the stellar 13 Satellites is Brandon’s most ambitious, satisfying, and accomplished album to date.

Lyrically there’s a cozy domestic vibe on 13 Satellites that resonates with this 30-something suburban dad. Brandon writes, plays, and sings from his heart with such sincerity and vulnerability that you can’t help but want to hug the guy. Knowing Brandon I’m sure he’d be game, which is a testament to his honest, personal songwriting. What an incredible feat of courage it is to put your life out there in song and Brandon is making a career of airing it all out. As a listener we are only enriched by the trust and respect Brandon clearly feels for his listeners.

As with his excellent previous efforts, it is pure joy to hear Brandon's influences. In the hands of such a talented songwriter the tunes never sound derivative or unoriginal. In fact, Brandon leaves his original mark on every second of every song. Specifically, Satellite reminds me that as long as the final product comes close to a song like this, every new generation has a right to lay claim to The Beatles’ lasting legacy. The Sgt. Peppery Exploding Angel oozes Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite. All the Way Down could so clearly be an outtake from Paul McCartney’s eponymous debut that would sound just perfect next to Junk. Although indisputably and admittedly Beatlesque throughout, 13 Satellites evokes its fair share of Beach Boy harmonies, Elliott Smith depth, Ben Foldsian melodies, and ... something sure is Jellyfishy with Louise Street.

The best thing about 13 Satellites? Brandon sounds happy. He has dealt with pretty heavy issues through his music and doesn't shy away here, but Brandon is clearly in a good place. 13 Satellites reflects a newfound playfulness that proves the good ones don't sacrifice fun for substance.

iTunes | Amazon MP3 | BrandonSchott.com

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Check out the way cool animated video for Satellite below.

On a final note, Flowers Fading is easily the most gorgeously timeless song I’ve heard all year. It. Is. Stunning.


Anonymous said...

very cool review! thanks for your words! as a friend and listener of brandon's music im so happy to hear that others feel the same way i do! w

Anonymous said...

A really nice record - it's been growing on me over the last few days. I've actually woken up with a few of the tracks stuck in my head...