Saturday, November 10, 2012
From the Shelf: Cory Branan - Mutt (2012)
Somewhere between the highway spirit of Bruce Springsteen and the drunken melancholy of Tom Waites the latest album by Cory Branan is rich with his tell-tail honesty and blatant creativity. It's been five years since his last album and the time has left it's mark. Delivered in his raw smokey voice, these songs remind you why it's worth the wait. With moments of experimentation, Branan's 3rd full-length LP finds him expanding his instrumental canvas, revealing a broader array of musical influences. Mutt showcases an evolved singer who has emerged from the chrysalis of a guitar wielding troubadour into a complex musical architect.
Lyrically, their is nothing subtle about these songs. From the opening "Croner" Branan peels back the ragged facade of life to reveal the tragic and wonderful. Thankfully though, not without the tongue-in-cheek wittiness he's known for. This album, like his others, is filled with some of the most ingenious lyricism and blatantly emotional honesty currently set to music. Effectively reaffirming his place as a king among songwriters, Mutt is another jewel to place securly in his crown.
Musically this album ranges from the tender country serenade of "Darken My Door" to the rocking power house of "Survivor Blues" while hitting all the tempos in-between. Some unique highlights include the Waits inspired gypsy jazz of "Snowman" and the contrasting translations of "Survivor Blues" that exist so independently of each other that it lacks the repetitiveness that you would usually expect. In all this album is a wonderfully fun ride on an auditory roller-coaster of tempo and instrumentation
Being a fan of Cory Branan is like being in a long distance relationship, you learn to appreciate the quality of his material verses the quantity. I should know, I've been writing about music for ten years and Branan's The Hell You Say was one of the first albums that I reviewed. Mutt certainly is the highest of quality. Hopefully it won't have to hold us over for another 5 years, but I'm sure that, if need be, it most definitely will.