Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze onto Brandon Jeffries, a North Carolinian who has released a rather interesting new studio effort, an EP entitled ‘Future Classic.’ Even though Jeffries seems like a singer songwriter, and his website is covered with photos of him toting an acoustic guitar wandering around the woods, his music is often much harder than your typical ‘singer songwriter’ stylings. He's trying to delve into other sounds, particularly rock, and raise the bar for other singer songwriters while doing it. ‘Future Classic’ is a hard hitting rock endeavor that borders closer to alternative pop rock musings than it does singer songwriter territory. Let’s delve into Jeffries new effort to determine if it’ll ever live up to its namesake.
Right off the bat, I found Jeffries sound to be refreshing, even if it isn’t necessarily anything different or new. ‘Follow The Leader’ embraces a high level of pop sensibility, something that’ll be littered throughout Jeffries’ new record. The rock and alternative influence are more powerful with an incredible soundscape building over Jeffries’ acoustic guitar. If I was to align him with a popular contemporary, I’d argue he’s akin to Chris Cornell. He can rock out and build the aforementioned soundscapes, but below that, there's a singer songwriter who may indeed be more comfortable with an acoustic guitar.
‘Shoe Swayed Blues’ definitely delves into the acoustic singer songwriter space a bit more. This soft-crooner is a bit forgettable, with the only highlight being the dynamic guitar solo in the final third of the piece. This sound has been done again and again - We’ve had enough Oasis soundalikes over the years for this to be overly original. ‘Well Enough Alone’ is similar in that regard, but the louder, more intense atmosphere compliments Jeffries much better.
‘Everything’ is one of the best songs on ‘Future Classic.’ This wonderful little love ditty is so well written and executed. I love the brass sections, the innocence nature of Jeffries’ performance, and his lovable scatting toward the end of the tune. ‘Everything’ is one of the most successful pop endeavors I’ve heard this year - it’s absolutely infectious.
To close it out, ‘As You Let Go’ is a soft-spoken ballad that meanders into obscurity, though it has it moments, particularly in regard to Jeffries’ exceptional vocal performance. ‘Till Ya Get Enough’ harnesses some of the fantastic stylings of ‘Everything’ for the second most memorable performance on the record.
‘Future Classic’ won’t actually be a classic in the future. It’s a scattered effort, and often wanders into some boring territory with predictable romps like ‘Shoe Swayed Blues’ and ‘As You Let Go.’ Jeffries redeems himself in full, however, with songs like ‘Everything’ and ‘Till Ya Get Enough.’ When he really puts himself into it, he’s a wholly original performer. I’d love to see a future effort that injects more of that creativity into itself for a full-fledged A effort. For the time being, ‘Future Classic’ is a respectable B-.