A stellar review just out on Indie-Music.com by Jamie Anderson
“Some artists find that one thing they’re good at and put it in every song. Braun is good at a lot of things and fortunately for us, includes them only when it serves the song - Americana without the gingham dress, alt rock without the torn t-shirt and cool retro without the bouffant hair.”
Artist: Norine Braun
Album: Conventus The Eye of the Heart
Genre: Folk / Blues
RIYL: Patti Smith, kd lang
Some artists find that one thing they’re good at and put it in every song. Braun is good at a lot of things and fortunately for us, includes them only when it serves the song - Americana without the gingham dress, alt rock without the torn t-shirt and cool retro without the bouffant hair. She’s got a unique approach to songwriting, sometimes using familiar structures where we can rest and other times, rocketing into space with a sense of adventure. She sings well and plays guitar, aided by a crack shot band of drums, keys, bass and more guitar.
“Lightning Strikes Twice” is fueled by a bad ass bass riff and vocals reminiscent of Patti Smith, including that howling upper register that adds emotion. With “How Would We Know,” she uses a softer voice and a reggae/ska groove. It’s a love song, with sweet lyrics like “Send me a rose scented and red / One that will grow and knows no death.”
There’s lots of great dynamics in “Boy,” starting with her rhythm acoustic guitar, building with the rest of the band, then breaking down to just her vocal and guitar towards the middle and coming back up again. That’s what I love about most of her arrangements – she can offer subtle and full-blown, all in the same song. In the blues-driven “99%” she’s pissed off: “Do we pay the groceries? Or do we pay the rent? Scrounging in the garbage, we’re the 99 percent.”
“Dizzy” is old school jazz/rock with a great rhythm section and “No More Reprise” has some hot retro funk/soul things happening. It’s a great get-lost-loser song, too. She even packs his or her clothes at the end. “Take the Sleek Train” has a dreamy feel, like landscape slipping past train windows. There’s a sinister atmosphere in “The Fire Flames,” aided by a distorted electric guitar that snakes in and out. She’s looking for love in “The Perfect Love Affair.” It sounds like a classic sixties pop/rock song, like the Doors with a female vocal.
She gives us yet another style in “I Found You,” with a cut-down arrangement in waltz time featuring only her acoustic guitar, vocals and a slide guitar. With a pedal steel or fiddle it could be alt country, but here it reads more like folk. She wraps it all up with “Conventus,” a cut with more of those great dynamics – she starts with an acoustic guitar and whispery vocals, then for the next verse, joyful lyrics over a polyrhythmic groove that continues through the song. This one would be especially great at a live show. I can just see a writhing mass of sweaty, happy dancers.
On this well-recorded album she’s got variety, solid tunes and a band that’s so good they breathe together. Why are you still reading this? Go download Conventus The Eye of the Heart.