Lonely The Brave – ‘What We Do To Feel’

By Katherine Allvey

Lonely The Brave are determined to celebrate the small things on their new album, ‘What We Do To Feel’. After all, they deserve to enjoy themselves following a turbulent few years including a change in frontmen, recent fatherhood and day jobs pushing themselves to their forefront of their minds. Now the storm has passed, the stadium-aspiring five-piece are basking in the warmth of knowing they’ve put together a mature and accomplished fourth album packed with the kind of songs which deserve videos filmed by a drone with a background of huge natural wonders. 

‘What We Do To Feel’ isn’t an album of desperation or hunger for change. It’s the aural equivalent of a reassuring hug after a long day at work, a record with a sense of appreciation for your own accomplishments. To be comfortable with your own identity is an achievement in itself, and Lonely The Brave very much know who they are after a decade of making music together. Luckily for us, this comfort and assurance hasn’t manifested itself as a diluted version of their sound. ‘Victim’, for instance, maintains circling grunge melodies over screaming, uneven rhythms and dreamlike, murmured vocals. First single ‘The Lens’ is mellow Biffy Clyro excellence, vast in scale but somehow still quietly domestic, like the clouds parting to allow a ray of sunshine directly into your kitchen window. Opening track ‘The Long Way’ is surprisingly upbeat, weaving itself through uphill, complex guitar riffs and clashing drums to make a fundamentally interesting song.

There is, of course, plenty of softness in this album for fans of their 2015 hit ‘Backroads’. ‘Our Sketch Out’ feels like the extension of that song; in fact, if you play them back to back, they slide into one another organically. There’s tenderness in the pouring chorus and coursing encouragement through each beat. If you want late night contemplation about the nature of human relationships, there’s enough of that on tracks like the quietly raucous ‘The Ramp’ to fuel any amount of introspection you care to indulge. “Help me out,” begs vocalist Jack Bennett repeatedly on ‘In The Well’, hoping for absolution. “I did a bad thing, I couldn’t take control,” he confesses, and we rejoice at the depth of emotion he taps into and pours our in his voice.

It’s the final track, ‘The Bear’, that stands out the most. A slow-burning tribute to an instant of despair, it’s the most heartfelt of the offerings on ‘What We Do To Feel’. Its lyrics speak of waiting outside the operating theatre for any news, good or bad, but swiftly that narrative sinks into a full blown string-section production that builds to a crescendo and stops abruptly, leaving a fade into silence and our own questions. Whatever scenario inspired the four-minute prog-lite epilogue to this record, it must have been a deeply affecting one which Lonely The Brave turned into a track rather different from their usual output. It’s also an interesting choice to finish the album on. Could it be a hint that the band are aiming for more complex, orchestral sounds in their future releases?

Lonely The Brave are finally the band they showed promise of being all along. They’ve come into their own in the two years since their last album, and have perfected a brand of gorgeously honest rock that lyrically joins together their life experiences and ours. “Don’t mind me, I’ll be better unseen,” wails Bennett on ‘Unseen’, but he’s absolutely wrong. This is the time for Lonely The Brave to become more visible and to spread their vibrant and interesting sound far and wide. 

KATE ALLVEY

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