Lonely The Brave – Things Will Matter (Redux) (2017)

‘Redux’, a term referring to the restoration or bringing back of a piece of literature.  When used in the music industry it is synonymous to ‘remix’ or ‘remaster’, but Lonely The Brave have gone beyond remixing or remastering having truly redux-ed their album, Things Will Matter (Redux).  The thing is that people tend to restore an item to a livelier state when bringing something back, but not LTB.  Instead, these boys have chosen to restore their album to a calmer and more emotive state from a high-powered format.

The album begins with ‘Things Will Matter’, the title track not available on the original Things Will Matter released in 2016.  A slow opening with a gentle guitar acts as an introduction to the album, which is ideal because the majority of tracks follow this trend.  I was told that ‘Things Will Matter’ is an expression of David James, the lead vocalist, complicated relationship with his father.  I find it intriguing that the relationship is explained via an examination of the people in his life, how they offer support and how they matter in his mind.

According to lyrics, there is a movement from friends not mattering at the beginning of this opening track, in fact, noone does; however, friendship becomes significant in the end when death approaches removing one life from another.  The track is a haunting song and presents with a spectral feeling.  It is interesting that this is the opening track detailing a course of life because the album is a progression of a person’s life before an inevitable death – or at least that’s my opinion.

Any person who has read Old English literature will know that a mire is a swampy mass of, well, bogginess where one can lose themselves and be pulled into its depths.  The track ‘Black Mire’ somehow gave a sensation of falling and need to reach up.  It is as if the band is grasping for air, aiming to reach something but are not able to clasp that bar.  A weight against my chest and need to break the hold of the black mire is the best explanation I can find.  Perhaps it is due to the positioning of the song after a rather powerful track promising movement.

What I truly love about this album is the positioning of tracks.  ‘What If You Fall In’ is carefully placed after ‘Black Mire’ to indicate the emerging from a desolate place and becoming one with oneself – “but each start has a colour in its heart that gets me thinking”.  No speeding up of the track is noted, but an introduction of drums makes the song fuller and more engaging making the listener feel more liberated.

It could be argued that only the truly blessed will experience continued success and joy in their lives, but everyone else will have ups and downs (hopefully more ups than downs).  ‘Rattlesnakes’, ‘Diamond Days’ and ‘Play Dead’ are all tributes to hard times people can easily encounter.  Arguably my favourite tracks on the album because of their acoustic backing, particularly ‘Rattlesnakes’ with a mostly piano background that emphasises the lead vocalist’s voice.  I like to think that the stripping of the electro sound in these tracks is a representation of the emptiness experienced at this stage of the person’s life.

Redemption, realisation, self-awareness, whatever you wish to call it, ‘Dust & Bones’ is an expression of that understanding every counsellor wishes their client to reach at some point.  Perfectly placed after the turbulent tracks, our protagonist is aware of his previous state where he brawled but was empty inside, only to reach enlightenment and prepare himself for a future.  Filled with hope, dreams and some uplifting guitar solos, ‘Dust & Bones’ is the ideal transition point from desperation to the next hopeful stage.

This is where life experience comes into play and, personally, I find ‘Radar’ very interesting.  Unlike other tracks, ‘Radar’ doesn’t act as a part of a phase but shows a movement entirely.  It begins with reaching out of the dark, but ends with the acceptance of the unstoppable dying of the dream – a far cry from ‘Dust & Bones’ “but you won’t kick the shit out of my dreams”.

I like to think that ‘Radar’ was the turning point in the album where relationships become more important, and this can be seen in the following ‘Strange Like I’ and ‘Boxes’.  Friends, family, loved ones, an identification of people that are close to a person and how significant they are.  The tracks are more intense with a stronger electronic backing as compared to the previous songs, potentially a signal of the power of these relationships.

Finally, the album ends with the longest track, ‘Jaws of Hell’.  It’s a touching piece calling on the previous mention of the Devil watching, but also considering how to best trick him into escaping the jaws of hell.  I found the use of violins in this track charming because they tend to have the most tragic tone of all string instruments.  An ideal backing for a track focusing on death.

Many people may consider Things Will Matter (Redux) a miserable album with depressing lyrics and some repetitive tracks.  I have to agree that the redux may appear repetitive with Jakes’ vocals being flat or dull.  The thing is, once you take a moment to examine the lyrics and message within the album the sound gains a new, relevant and relatable dimension.  Life can be depressing, it can be difficult and it is horrible to deal with.  Lonely The Brave, however, have shown that relationships are important to manage this thing called life and the ‘I’ soon becomes ‘we’ to make it through.  This is an album I would purchase, but wouldn’t necessarily have on repeat.

Images courtesy of Lonely The Brave.

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