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Brave Timbers – Secret Hopes

Brave Timbers started out as a solo project and has since expanded into a duo. ‘Secret Hopes’ is their third album – and their first for Sound in Silence Records. It’s a sedate affair, filled throughout with piano, violin and pizzicato strings. If you need to understand what it’s all about early on, I’d recommend starting at the end of the album – with the track ‘From A Mountain’, it’s absolutely glorious and describes fully what Brave Timbers encapsulates.

The album commences with ‘Stillness’, a track which Max Richter might describe as ‘post-classical’ – which has become quite a buzzword in recent years. The music, however, isn’t quite so ‘post-classical’ as we’re first led to believe. The harmonium swells give the music an Irish feel – not as in an Irish jig or perhaps something more upbeat, but instead leaving me reimagining a stripped-down version of In Tua Nua’s ‘The Innocent And The Honest Ones’.

With ‘First Light’, we’re initially introduced to a finger-picked acoustic guitar before a pair of violins merrily make their entrance. The beauty of the music is within the harmonies of the various instruments. I also like that Brave Timbers have sought not to overegg the cake and overpower the recording with too many layers. The simplicity of the music is the very thing which becomes its greatest appeal. Take ‘Swimming In The Isar’ – everything strips back momentarily to the sound of just the piano, and you can even hear the felt of the hammers finally resting back into place.

‘Coming Up For Air’ commences with a simple piano and once again the harmonies of the violins sweep in, sounding incredibly delicate. It’s possibly the closest we get to beauty on the album. If music could describe a beautiful woman, then this track would be it.

This really is mood music, which has the ability both to calm and to soothe. Next time you’re planning on taking a bath, spin ‘From A Mountain’ and all your troubles will simply evaporate away…

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