I always find something invigorating about discovering new bands. The truth is, I don’t even remember how I came across the South Carolina based band Brave Baby, but I am glad I did. Brave Baby released their debut album, “Forty Bells”, a couple of weeks ago, and even though it isn’t likely to resonate immediately with the general public, that doesn’t mean the record doesn’t have mass appeal. There is a quiet confidence displayed on “Forty Bells” that puts the listener in a comfort zone, eventually wrapping us in a warm sonic blanket that we don’t want to come out of. There is something familiar about Brave Baby, but it’s about all of the good things that remind you of home, and not the things that drove you away.
“Bells” begins with one of it’s strongest songs on the album, ‘Magic and Fire’, which we featured as a Song of the Day here on West Michigan Indie a few weeks ago. It’s shimmering beauty is reminiscent of Canadian powerhouses Arcade Fire, which provides an apt comparison for other tracks on the record as well. For a band starting out, an Arcade Fire comparison certainly isn’t a bad thing, and you can hear that influence in songs like the fantastic ‘Nothing in Return’, and the bouncy ‘Lakeside Trust’.
But let’s get this straight, Brave Baby aren’t just some Arcade Fire wanna-be. Their songs stand up on their own, and they show a good level of diversity. The country tinged ‘Grandad’ is an effective track in that you can’t help but imagine listening to while drinking your favorite beverage on a porch swing. ‘Living in a Country’ could be my favorite track on the album, the grasp of its catchy rhythm impossible to escape. ‘Foxes and Dogs’ begins as a clap and stomp track reminiscent in some ways to a Band of Horses track, before giving way to a propulsion of percussion.
The year in music has just begun, and already we have seen some strong debut albums. However, when all is said and done in 2013, I believe Brave Baby will be among the strongest new bands to have graced us with their presence. It will be a shame if “Forty Bells” doesn’t get listened to, because it’s an album that certainly should demand some attention.