Luke Brindley - A Hidden Wholeness
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Sept. 14, 2010
For nearly a decade, Washington D.C.'s Luke Brindley has been one of the Metro area's most consistent songwriters, first with the pop-rock outfit The Brindley Brothers and the last few with his own solo project. To date he's received accolades from the likes of Paste Magazine, American Songwriter and The Washington Post, so he's long overdue for some mention at this site. His latest release, A Hidden Wholeness, is certain to lift him away from the Beltway and into the national consciousness. Deftly blending folk rock with Americana and acoustic pop A Hidden Wholeness is a masterful revelation.
Beginning with the raw "Where the River Used To Be," Brindley starts things off with restraint and promise. While it is an awkward opener it does serve as a solid introduction to Brindley's husky vocals and his penchant for swift fingerpicking. The disc's first home run is the buoyant "We Go Together," a sun-kissed and thoughtful meditation on blue-collar romance. Featuring arguably one of the year's more impressive choruses it's a harmonic and winsome pop anthem and certain to land on year-end lists.
The plaintive "You Are Not Alone," revisits the acoustic simplicity of "Where the River Used To Be," but goes a bit deeper. After a 40-second interlude the disc's second apex "We Always Do (Have Some Faith In Me)" follows. An age-old valentine to devotion and optimism, it's one of the more potent and perfect songs released by any singer-songwriter this year. The intimate "Still Be There," revisits the same theme as "You Are Not Alone," and "We Always Do (Have Some Faith In Me)," but feeds off a lilting cello and backing vocals from Jess Bennett.
The rough-hewn, banjo-driven "Angeline," is the disc's only hiccup but being only three minutes it finishes not long after it starts. Even if it serves as filler, it's saved by "Wrecking Ball," and "Broken Land." The latter is a timeless and winning composition about the power of love and conviction, while "Wrecking Ball," tackles something far deeper. Swift, punchy and catchy, the song is aided by Brindley's foray into falsetto and is further proof that when it comes to acoustic songwriting, there aren't many better.
While he has steadily made a name for himself outside of the Beltway over the last couple years, the momentum from A Hidden Wholeness is certain to carry him forward. Deftly produced by former Alternate Routes bassist Chip Johnson, A Hidden Wholeness is awash in organs, horns and luxuriant rhythms, pointing to Brindley's inherent musical acumen. Like a tonic for the soul, there's something deeply affecting about A Hidden Wholeness and little reason to think it won't help Brindley meet more acclaim.