Since their 24 track solo album Diary, A Day Without Love, the solo project of singer/songwriter Brian Walker, has turned towards working with other artists to experiment and grow, releasing tracks like “Believe” and “Fashit” - clear indicators of artistic progression. On #NORANCHBRAH, a collaboration with drummer and producer Andrew Ryan brings out a new side of A Day Without Love, breaking through a back catalog of moody acoustic ballads.
“Better Times” is a paradoxically campy tune which discusses “having anxiety about reaching your goals in adulthood”. The song opens with a chuckle followed by the cheery bounce of acoustic guitars and shakers creating a sort of nostalgic campfire setting for the song. This atmosphere is contested by a brief interjection from a crescendoing guitar swell, but this potentially impactful moment is marred by the mistimed delivery of the line “I don’t ever wanna give up again”. This first moment of unsatisfying tension and release makes the songs return to the campfire setting feel undeserved. The drama of the track depends heavily on the impact of the drums upon their introduction about a minute in. Up until that moment, the track is sparse and the vocals sound like they’re coming through an old radio. Once that telegraphed but anticipated switch happens, the added instrumentation brings no increase of energy to the song, leading to another unsatisfying release.
“Facing the Future” is a little more coordinated in its energy but doesn’t quite hit the mark as an angsty duet. The song is written using a reliable and familiar country-rock aesthetic. “Have you felt the pain of leaving everything behind” is the perfect channeling of the bluesy vibe conjured in the songs guitar performances. Unfortunately, leaning too heavily on these familiar tropes led to the song leaving minimal emotional impact overall. The song’s lyrics aren’t always discernible, but there are plenty of lines that could hold significant poetic weight if they were given the space to be explored.
#NORANCHBRAH seems to fulfill its intent – that intent may just be shortsighted. Despite this, the more energetic side of A Day Without Love present on this EP seems to be the right direction to push in.
- Clear and successful aesthetic choices
- Structurally sound writing
- Vocal delivery could be refined
- Low energy performances opposes writing that seem to reach for high energy moments