When you hear an artist talk about a lofty idea that seems impossible to execute, that’s usually a sign it’s probably time to tune out. Just how many success stories are there? For every The Most Lamentable Tragedy, there’s two Teargarden by Kaleidyscopes. Whether you think Sufjan Stevens was joking or not, he only did two of the “50 States” themed albums. In essence, accomplishing a grand vision doesn’t always happen. But then there’s the case of Bruno Major who rolled out a classic record….very slowly.
Major, a session guitarist got his start in Northhampton before moving to London to pursue his own songwriting. In 2016, he decided to record and release one song a month for twelve months – that would mean to write, record and release the song in real time. With the release of A Song For Every Moon, the twelve tracks represent an unprecedented display of how we listen and digest music. The collection is kaleidoscopic, venturing from the drippy drums and plucked guitars of “Wouldn’t Mean a Thing” to the quiet-soul James Blake-ian “Easily”. Songs like “Second Time” start with outdoor night sounds before turning into a vacuum-sealed acoustic ballad, while “Fair-Weather Friend” sounds like something that Drake might have rapped over at one time early on in his career.
“Just The Same” is clearly the album’s centerpiece, a grand piano ballad filled with sweeping choral vocals that soar above handclaps and Major’s sweet, weary falsetto above it all. It sounds like a Sam Smith song with more grit. “Flog me with malice till the rivers running red/Make me an outlaw put a price upon my head,” he sings. “Cast me to exile or a house for the insane/And I would love you just the same,” Even with sadness, there’s a bit of resolve. That gives way to “Places We Won’t Walk,” a delicate hymnal that sounds like it’s Major looking the what-could-have beens of a failed relationship. “Children cry and laugh and play/Slowly hair will turn to gray/We will smile to end each day/In places we won't walk,” he sings over woodwinds and piano.
What’s most incredible about A Song For Every Moon is watching how Major’s songwriting process changed over the tenure of the project. Through each song you can hear how his confidence grows – “The First Thing You See” sounds like some conservative bedroom pop, but by the time you get to the propulsive “Cold Blood” it’s clear that Bruno Major’s ambition is beginning to outgrow the project.
Ultimately, what A Song For Every Moon shows is that it shows that with enough ability, confidence, fortitude and natural talent, projects like these are possible. Bruno Major set out to break it down to its simplicity: write one song, make it the best it can be and figure out how it fits as part of the bigger picture. That kind of thinking can benefit us all.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
This review was written by Brendan Hilliard, of Obviate Media. Obviate Media is a Chicago-based blog covering music and pop culture. Check them out, here: Obviate Media.