Breanne Marie is an Alt Country artist from Duluth, MN in the US of A. On February 19th 2021 she’ll be releasing a brand new album titled “Juniper” with her band The Front Porch Sinners. We were fortunate enough to get an exclusive pre-release listen to the album and here’s what we thought!
The album kicks off with “Central Hillside”. An upbeat start, the mix sounds good enough. There’s a slight tinge of awkwardness when Breanne’s vocals come in. It’s around this point we started to notice everything’s blended in and her vocals don’t quite stick out from the mix and is hidden. When you get a chance to listen to it, you’ll notice the cool bridge around the 2:23 mark. Following this there’s a little breakdown before it picks right back up. A broad range of sonic textures layered throughout which gives this track a lot of energy, a good start to this record.
Following the rollercoaster ride of the previous track, “Hard Time” is up next. A somber tune that’s for sure. Takes a while to get going, there are times where we expect drums to kick in but they never do. Good chord progression, same bridge placement as “Central Hillside”. The bass really compliments this track nicely, sitting nicely in the pocket and never steps out of line. If this track kicked off we’d give this one two thumbs up but it doesn’t and that’s a shame.
Track three is “Between You And Me”. Instantly reminded us of “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. Goes a slightly different direction, there’s drums! The lyrics are good enough but something sounds off, Breanne sounds slightly off in the verses – a few notes here and there kinda throw us but there’s good energy in the delivery. Indeed, there’s loads of great energy if you sit with a pair of headphones and just focus on the music. “Between You And Me” does get better as it goes along.
“Turning Stones” is another somber tune but it’s got more to it than “Hard Time”. Much more to it, little licks from the guitar here and there – it also picks up (but not in the way we’d expect – much cooler). This track has a lot of attitude and we’re all here for it, it climbs and it falls. That snare needs to be punchier when it does pick up. You’ll notice around the three minute mark there’s a trumpet and as that fades out you’re met with a harmonica in the background. Interesting blend of tones but somehow it works. The ending is pretty cool too.
Really like the intro to “Love Is A Song”. As soon as this track starts, this is classic country. At this point we’re confident that this track is Breanne’s best performance vocally on the album and certainly our favourite. Choc full of emotion, produced brilliantly. “Wild Horses” kind of killer, yes we went there. Nice one.
Track six is “Too Tired To Cry”. Pretty cool intro, bass leading followed by the vocals but it doesn’t go the way you’d expect it. This tune is such a tease! It’s not bad but on first listen we were expecting something totally differently. Really good performance by all here, brilliant moment at 1:40 – trust us its pretty awesome. Another killer track and at this point of our listening we’re wondering why this wasn’t higher up in the track listing – probably a build up.
“Dead Man Walking” starts off brilliantly, it’s got great energy. This is cowboy music, you know – Red Dead Redemption duelling, whisky swilling kinda music. The chorus isn’t what you’d expect but the blend of tones and the overall progression really works. We take it back, this is our favourite track from the album now. Breanne’s got plenty of attitude that matches the music perfectly. Breakdown and pickup at 3:15ish is perfect.
We’re perplexed by “Good Bones”, what is going on? Not with the music of the track (we’ll get to that in a second) but the listing of it. Instantly we’re smitten with it. Strings in the background, and more audible reverb on the vocals – probably the clearest vocals on the entire record. Bridge again around the 2:20 mark, it seems like Breanne’s got her songwriting formula worked out and work it does. A lovely tune. Definitely in the top 3.
Finally we’ve got the title track “Juniper”. Can we say Space Country? This track has a lot of ambient textual qualities to it which really add a whole lot of character. Takes a minute for it to pick up and when it does, it does it well. Everything’s well placed here, just when you think the section is about to change, it does. “Juniper” is a very easy song to listen to, one of those one’s you’d put on to relax. Slightly off note vocally at one point but that’s forgivable given the rest of the song. The song’s a solid 8 out of 10 if we were being harsh. A good end to a decent album.
So “Juniper” (the album) can be described as a rollercoaster ride for sure. A lot of filler to start with but a little after the half-way mark of the album it is choc full of killer, we totally get the “save the best till last” idea despite this. “Dead Man Walking” is definitely our highlight of this album but you’re gonna have to wait for the release to make up your own mind!
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