Local Record Review: 'The Isle of Her' by Micah Brown

Categories: Beat Blvd.
Micah Brown.jpg
Micah Brown
"The Isle of Her"

See Also:
*Local Record Review: 'This One's For Terminal Boredom' by Roman Candles
*Local Record Review: 'We Are Locally Grown' by Locally Grown Collective
*Local Records Review: 'Four Steps in Corsets' by Yellow Red Sparks

 
Listening to Dana Point homeboy Micah Brown's full debut album, The Isle of Her, is a bit of a flashback in more ways than one. For one thing, at fourteen tracks, it's long, almost an hour, which makes it seem more like a hangover from the 1990s and the era of CD bloat. But it all passes by sweetly enough, which is doubtless what regular OC Music Awards winner Brown wants above all else -- this is the kind of acoustic guitar dude album where everything is precisely and perfectly recorded, the arrangements teased out with a little surprise here and there.
When it comes to those surprises, a song like "Spend Your Sunlight" is a good example of what's often at work in the album, Brown's guitar playing showcasing a sprightly folk backed with sort-of rock underpinning -- as well as the violin -- that touches on everything from Dan Fogelberg and Michael Murphy to Jeff Buckley and Michael Ward. Brown's sweet and slippery voice is the trickiest thing throughout, playing around with vocal rhythms as much as lyrical ones. Another winner lies in how the slightly queasy steel guitars on "Greencard Wedding" are set against a story that sounds right out of Steely Dan more than anything else. 

Compared to pleasant enough but still slightly more run of the mill efforts like "Good Feelings" -- it's not the only reggae-rhythm chorus on the album but it's not really doing anything with it either -- and the exactly what it sounds like it would be "Lonely Mind Blues," those moments are what make The Isle of Her a quietly engaging moments. It's busting down no doors, it's definitely not out to rock you like a hurricane, it's pretty easy to just step back a bit and let it all flow over you -- but hey, add a few fuzzy moments and some people would call it chillwave, so why not go for a more direct approach?

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