Simon Bromide “Following the Moon”

Scratchy Records, 2021

Cultivated pop sensibility with jangly tones.

Artwork for Simon Bromide album ,'Following the Moon'A compendium of musical and poetic influences greets us on, ‘Following the Moon’ which may or may not resonate with the listener. Bromide, AKA, Berridge may remind some of a certain mid-eighties songsmith who sought to merge an informed literary perspective with the dulcet tones of jangly pop, namely Llyod Cole and his Commotions. Bromide’s vocals contain more than a passing nod to both the sound and import of Cole’s vocals which are accompanied by suitably Commtionesque mid-fi jangly guitar tones.

Of the opening track, ‘The Waiting Room’, Bromide informs us, “The Lyrics refer to a letter proposing marriage sent to my mother many years ago. The letter never arrived and the sender presumed the lack of a reply was his answer”. The song also makes a beguilingly cunning reference to a Fab Four masterpiece with the lines, “It was a rub of the soul”. ‘Chinua Achebe’ creates an aura of pop exuberance which lands just the right side of the bombastic but only just. ‘Skehans Song’ starts with enigmatic voices which seem to overstay their welcome by the time we reach the main body of the song. One of the characters in the song has seen, “Nick Drake live, Nico live, he’s seen them all back in the day”. Whilst the song has its points of interest, it feels too long, losing its way well before its finale. The 70’smusic scene raises its head in, ‘Not that type’ sharing the lyric, “You had a tape of Led Zeppelin, the other side was Nick Drake, it was the perfect combination for my heart to break”. ‘The Argument’ has an endearingly poised dignity with its faux Spanish instrumentation and its strength lies in its acoustic core as does the title track, ‘Following the Moon’ which has an angsty edge to give it bite. The final track pays homage to William Blake’s poem, ‘Earth’s Answer’ which portrays men as dark, selfish, jealous and cruel having imprisoned the Earth. This seems apposite for our times and is given a suitably moody, atmospheric rendering.

Bromide has an innate pop sensibility that plays out to varying degrees of success on this album. The strongest tracks are those that have an acoustic core and don’t feel overburdened with instrumentation. There is an honesty that shines through on the less busy tracks that somehow seems missing elsewhere; this honesty is well worthy of our consideration.

7/10
7/10

About Richard Phillips 56 Articles
From the leaden skies of Manchester to the sunny uplands of Cheshire, my quest is for authentic Americana. Love live music, my acoustic guitar and miss my baby (grand piano).

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