May 2014 08

Brett Gleason - Brett GleasonBrett Gleason
Category: Alt. Rock / Goth
Album: Brett Gleason
Stars: 4.5
Blurb: Intelligent and intricate songwriting topped off by precision production and performance helps to make this debut full-length an absolute winner.


Having spent the better part of the last two years refining his musical vision to create this self-titled full-length debut, Brooklyn, NY’s Brett Gleason does well to make good on the promise 2012’s The Thawing EP made to listeners. While he’s been compared to Tori Amos, undoubtedly due to his sense of melancholy ambience and subject matter, and especially the prominence of piano throughout his music, Gleason’s music resonates with a palpable eclecticism in both sound and structure. From the onset of “The Worst Part”’s staccato stabs of guitar, drum, and some rather subtle synthesizer accompaniment atop a somber piano arpeggio, there is something decidedly off-kilter about Gleason’s compositional sensibility; an almost jazzy quality that augments the smoky lounge-like feel of the song complements his passionate yet reserved tenor, smoothly hovering in some space between crooning storyteller and weeping reverend. The album’s second single, “Imposter” begins with an almost whimsical downscale before erupting into a smarmy lament as a shrill guitar underscores his voice and piano, the climax picking up tempo in almost vaudevillian manner. The same could be said of “Destruction,” which along with the sharp staccatos of the organ and guitar tinged “I Am Not” and the controlled chaos of “Futile and Fooled” moving from jaunty to jazzy breaks evoke the likes of Nick Cave with a sense of unpredictability and wistfulness. Throughout the album, Gleason moves freely with all the vigor of a progressive rock outfit as intricate time changes and chord progressions that defy pop conventions in favor of a more artistic mentality, his voice and lyrics exhibiting both aggressive control and vulnerable releases at the same time. This is especially so on a song like “Polarity” as celestial synths and seething organs provide a hollow atmosphere that plays as a marvelous counterpoint to the song’s generally theatrical bluster as it switches tempo between the verses and choruses, all set to an elusive five-count, and while the interplay between the synths and the acoustic elements on “The Thawing” may seem a tad dissonant, it only strengthens the song’s overall sense of harmony between disparate elements, particularly as the rhythm of Gleason’s voice seems in conflict with that of the instrumentation. “Idealize the Dead” ends the album out on an appropriately ambiguous note with sardonic yet affirmative lyrics that evoke the pensive serenity that runs through the whole album. From start to finish, Brett Gleason’s first full-length album is a solid testament to the man’s prowess as a performer and as a producer, crafting every element of his music singlehandedly with precision and vibrancy. Full of gothic and progressive overtones, some may find Gleason’s brand of alt. rock too heady to soak in at first listen, but the intensity of his songwriting makes repeated listens a certainty for continued enjoyment.
Track list:

  1. The Worst Part
  2. Imposter
  3. Calculated
  4. Destruction
  5. I Am Not
  6. Polarity
  7. Unruddered
  8. The Thawing
  9. Futile and Fooled
  10. Idealize the Dead

Brett Gleason Website
Brett Gleason Facebook
Brett Gleason Twitter
Brett Gleason SoundCloud
Brett Gleason Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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  1. […] The Definitive ‘Brett Gleason‘ Review by Regen Mag: […]

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