Charleston’s Brave Baby aims big here, drawing inspiration not only from the heroic/nostalgic sounds of Arcade Fire but from the granddaddies of earnest yet incisive rock’n’roll, U2. Front man Keon Masters does sing with an air of Win Butler about him; his vulnerable tenor has a rope-like strength to it, and a subtle intricacy, as he offers different aural qualities at his different registers.
“Living in a Country” is all yearning momentum and indelible chorus. You’ll hear that without even trying. Give a closer listen, though, and you’ll encounter any number of oddly satisfying details—the Star Trek-y synthesizer (first heard in the introduction), the late entry of the bass (0:29), the ghostly octave vocals (1:40), the deconstruction of the time signature during that asymmetrical interlude after the second verse (1:54), and maybe best of all, the burnished spaciousness of the sound in the chorus, which feels partly like some kind of wall-of-sound voodoo and yet partly organic and explainable. Only I can’t explain it; all I know is that the chorus’s urgent hookiness has probably as much to do with its sonic landscape as its melody.
Three of Brave Baby’s four members have been playing music together since 2008; the quartet coalesced in 2010. “Living in a Country” is the first single available from the band’s debut album, Forty Bells, due out in January on Hearts and Plugs Records. Thanks to the record label for the MP3.