Jun 2017 05

Brett Gleason - ManifestBrett Gleason
Category: Alt. Rock
Album: Manifest
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Showing the artist’s confidence and comfort in his own skin, this second full-length offering from Brooklyn’s Brett Gleason is as melancholy and atmospheric as its predecessor, full of strong yet simple songwriting that presents a myriad of complex and relatable emotions.


Brooklyn, NY’s Brett Gleason has spent his whole life immersing himself in artistic and musical pursuits as a means to overcome a solitary nature. His self-titled debut album in 2014 presented a melancholic and darkly appealing brand of jazzy pop that often garnered comparisons to Tori Amos, but that this writer would find more in common with the likes of Nick Cave with just a hint of the subtle whimsy and ambient charm of Angelo Badalamenti. With Manifest, Gleason offers up a new helping of songs to follow up on his first effort, honing his compositional skills to solidify his own musical identity. Themes of social, mental, and emotional health and introspection resonate through his crooning tenor as his voice bears the unassuming rawness of a folk singer, free of the usual frills and flourishes one would expect. This is part of Gleason’s dynamic appeal, not dissimilar to James Taylor, the strength and simplicity of his music and lyrics outshining what many would perceive to be a vocal limitation. For instance, “Sincerely” tugs at the heartstrings with the sort of sentimental vigor of a ‘50s rock ballad, the bluesy and slightly distorted guitar splashing with the drumbeats amid a bopping piano, Gleason’s harmonious and subtle vocals just slightly clashing with the shades of cello, the song shifting to a more jaunty rhythm in its conclusion. As for the earnestness of his lyrics, one need look no further than “Do You Know?” on which he sings atop a pensive acoustic guitar, “I won’t give into the doubts I’ve had, and finally decide that I will become the man I dreamed,” the sparse but gritty guitar solo complemented by a restrained trombone to serve as the song’s emotional climax before shifting in mood to an impassioned reassurance as he sings “I will change” in the coda. Another song that embraces this notion of change is “Flattened,” Gleason’s lush harmonies adorning the chorus as the verses revel in angular chord and key changes that reveal the complexity of his compositional style, while the synths that hover just under the shimmering guitars and piano on this song and “Humane” demonstrate his proficiency as a producer, adding just the right amount of sonic flavoring to keep the album from sounding like another jazzy folk/rock outing. In many respects, Manifest is not very far removed from Gleason’s earlier outing, which would normally be a deterrent and dismiss any notions of progression; however, this also indicates a sense of the artist’s increased confidence and comfort in his own skin, which adds to the album’s thematic sense of a broken heart in the midst of healing, and is quite refreshing as so many artists trap themselves in the desire to live up to past successes. With just a few guest performers to make Manifest a somewhat more refined and well rounded album, it is at its heart Brett Gleason as he was before… perhaps a little wiser, but ultimately very much an artist with his own identity.
Track list:

  1. If I Could
  2. Flattened
  3. Expiration Date
  4. Rough Love
  5. Sincerely
  6. Alive
  7. Do You Know?
  8. Macroscopic
  9. Humane
  10. The Urge

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

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