Label: Inverted Kite
It’s safe to say that the common thread that unites practically everything covered on The Sound Not The Word – regardless of genre, popularity, or anything else – is a sense of heaviness, be it musical or emotional. Beast to Love is an exception to that rule of thumb. The second album from Brine – following their Kill the Ill debut and New Brunswick EP – is a melodic, catchy, summery blast of post-punk melodies and power pop energy, full of bright energy and a sense of fun.
Opening track and lead single ‘Nothing to Fear’ gets the album off to the best possible start, showcasing the band’s song-craft as they weave bass and guitar melodies, creating an energy that is bright, accessible, and hugely enjoyable. There’s a slightly dark undercurrent there too – as you’d hope for and expect in post-punk influenced music – but what really stands out are the melodies, and the confident, clear vocals of Daniel Keating. He has that special quality which is so key to successful vocalists (especially ones who sing “clean” vocals, with clear lyrics), where he manages to convince the listener that, no matter what he’s actually singing, he’s doing so from a place of conviction and sincerity.
It’s a good thing, too, as his vocals are placed front-and-centre in the mix, given pride of place in practically all the songs on Beast to Love. Given this, it means that it can sometimes be hard to distinguish one song from another save for the lyrics – but then, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a whole, Beast to Love is confident and enthusiastic, with even songs with a bleaker lyrical focus, such as ‘Pivot’, putting across an infectious energy that is inherently optimistic. Even if one song might blur in to another a little bit, it doesn’t stop the album from being a listen that is addictive, and a hell of a lot of fun.
That’s not to say they’re aren’t highlights, or some songs which stand out from the rest. The previously mentioned opening track is the best song on the album, but the up-tempo ‘Shattered’ – the shortest song on the album – is also excellent, with its melodic basslines topped with bursts of guitar that veer between the melodic and the biting; and ‘Monsters’ sounds like a version of The Smiths that was fronted by someone who could actually sing, with some quiet-loud-quiet dynamics that mirror the verse-chorus-verse structure.
Even though Beast to Love isn’t the kind of album that would normally be covered on this site, and Brine aren’t nearly as heavy as the usual fare written about, the album is so infectious and enjoyable that it would have felt wrong not to give it coverage. It’s a great album for the absurdly hot summer that we’re currently suffering through, and an album that, even if it is outside your usual fare, is hard to resist.
Beast to Love is due for release on 17 August 2018, and can be pre-ordered digitally on Bandcamp.