Often times, when writing a review, I have a hard time categorizing a band or describing a band because they don’t sound like anything else we’ve heard. While that’s certainly true for Bronze Radio Return, the sextet out of Hartford, Connecticut, I found myself having trouble defining them because I hear so many different influences inside their unique sound. The combination that they’ve found has led to Up, On & Over, one of the year’s best albums.
The album begins with the title track, a great upbeat song that shows that this band certainly has a unique sound. It’s awesome driving music, the kind of music with tempo and instrumentation that makes you feel like you should be moving with the wind blowing in through the windows. The second track, “Mister, Mister”, sounds like Bronze Radio Return’s homage to Mumford and Sons. Using banjos and a great bass drum beat (more of that to come), the song is about giving what you have to to “the man”. “Hey mister, mister, you can have my days, but you better leave my nights alone.”
Perhaps the best song on the album, and the best driving song since fun.’s “Some Nights” is “Further On,” a song about moving that uses Bronze Radio Return most trustworthy instrument, drums. The drums on this album are the thing that makes it kick and makes it feel like something really unique. Paired with the harmonica on “Further On” makes the song sound really unique and the perfect compliment to July. “Rather Never Know” sounds remarkably like a Death Cab For Cutie song, especially the vocals. The album as a whole seems like an homage to the bands that have inspired them.
“World Spin, Home Spun” is a song that resembles The Lumineers with mandolins and an acoustic sound. It’s about coming home to a town that you left a long time ago. It’s a song that hits close to home for me and I imagine that many of you might agree. “And when you arrive to half hugs and empty eyes,/ and everyone stops asking where you been./ Just then you realize that while you were out chasing brides,/ everybody else got settled in.” One of the really unique songs on the album is “Above, Below”, a song that reminds me of John Fullbright. It’s about the entities above and below us. “If what they say, what they say, what they say is true,/ that a spirit down below watches under you,/ then I wanna know, when his fame begins to fade,/ what makes the devil afraid?”
This album has so much awesome stuff on it, that this review seems like a disservice. I’d like to talk about every song, but you ought to just go and buy the album. Up, On & Over will certainly make one of our end of the year lists and there’s not a better album for the summer that I’ve heard this year. Maybe ever.