Multi-talented singer-songwriter John Brownlow is plowing a row for himself as an independent artist in a field where having a unique and distinctive sound is becoming increasingly uncommon. His vocals blend naturally with the rich instrumentation and the songs are imbued with a classic feel reminiscent of The Bravery, They Might Be Giants and Elbow. Lyrics inspired by ordinary experiences, nature, and an adventurous spirit round out Brownlow’s previous well-received record X, released on 2014.
On “The Summertime” his latest and greatest release, Brownlow delivers what I can only describe as good mood music. It has flavorings of instrumental rock, pop, and a Alternative feel. Early track “Burn Hollywood Burn” has an interesting vibe attached to it. The musical textures of Brownlow and his band are especially evocative. “Live Forever” has a short but sweet structure, lending it more of Britpop feel, but it could hardly be called pop when it’s built around Brownlow and his guitar at the sonic center. While my favorites pieces certainly are “Gonna Have To Let You Down” and “Man In The Mirror”. Some tracks have a particularly steady-thrumming bass line that adds firmness and tension. All songs are a glory-full return to this old, fantastic soul with a stuttering rhythm section underpinning some terrific work from all involved. John Brownlow is one Ontario based act who has played numerous shows around the region. This is his latest outing and a great pickup if you’re either in a nostalgic mood. While this is music you could work or play to, it’s most suited to simple contemplation. Its might just be the perfect LP to brighten up your day on both those rainy or shinning days up there. Isn’t that something we could all use a little more of in our lives. Brownlow sets it – all to well.
The Bottom Line: “The Summertime from John Brownlow is well-suited for audiences that enjoy all the typical conventions of Rock N’ Roll and more. Even slight elements of Singer/Songwriter mood music and earthy Blues. Expect great things from Brownlow as his cult fanbase gets more established. I feel there’s a disgruntled audience out there just waiting for him to arrive with open arms.