There is this great dilemma that a large number of younger musicians and even a few established ones face in their careers. I am referring to the question of, “Is anyone going to care what I do with my music?” More specifically even, “Will people relate to this and in turn support this?”
Columbus, Ohio, indie musician, Brandon Cruise, faced these questions when he began writing his own musical story. The result is Lost Son, a six song EP that deals with very personal stories of loss, lost love, healing, and a little touch of religious grace. It does this while utilizing slow tempo, glass-toned instrumentation accompanied by light, clear and soft-spoken vocals.
“Murderer” opens the album with glassy post-rock melodies likened to the sound of Explosions in the Sky or Caspian. Through simply worded lyrics about killing the love between two people with pure ego, Cruise invites you to feel his understanding, but there is little remorse off the get go as he explains in the chorus with the lines. “I am a murderer and I don’t care. I’ve killed your heart and mine.”
“Run” brings the tempo up a little and lets a punk aesthetic take over the horizon. Cruise adopts a higher octave of vocalization that reminds me of Anthony Green, (Circa Survive and Saosin). He sings of our main man running from what he has known in a frantic attempt at escape. Growing up a fan of punk, I instantly found myself in love with the dynamic that the later portion of this song builds between clean lead vocals and the screamed backing vocals. The mixing is done in a way that allows both to harmonize in a pleasing way that is not always found in the many genre realms of punk.
“Desperation” is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. It plays out as a fuzzy-toned and steadily drummed dialogue from the male lead regarding his failed relationship with his love and the arrival of grace as an element of healing. Cruise’s lyrics are easily relatable and clear in showing a man who understands the situation quite well as he proclaims, “my heart does not know love outside of you,” and “I know what I deserve, mercy have your way with me.” The transparent nature of this song is sure to grip you and force you to relate if you’ve ever even claimed to know love.
Coming to a close with the more optimistic “Waiting” and “Reunion”. Both songs are written with hope and appear to be dealing with healing through a religious grace.
Back in my youth group days, some of my fondest memories were of chilling in front of the church in my buddy’s car. We’d drink slushies and listen to Underoath, Switchfoot and various other bands that got their starts on Christian music labels. I couldn’t help getting a vibe of Switchfoot’s stellar Hello Hurricane, from these songs. The chants present in both tunes are likely the reason I was taken back to church so fast.
With Lost Son, Brandon Cruise has a created a simply worded story that is easy to follow and just as easy to relate to. The instrumentation is crisp, clean and well hashed out. If you’re looking for some easy listening for a quiet Saturday night in, then look no further.
Luke Williams grew up a fan of punk and pop punk in a field of cows just outside of Barrie, Ontario. You can follow him on Twitter @musicwithluke