Brian Jarvis – “Beautifully Broken” (2012, Soundwave)
Brian Jarvis has a singer-songwriter pop sound which instantly reminds one of bands like Vertical Horizon back during the late 90s alternative pop heyday. Yet there’s a distinct soul-searching touch to these songs which is deftly handled — “Beautifully Broken,” was written barely a day after the loss of his father, but the melody builds on a bouncing keyboard backdrop, with frantic stuttering percussion and background vocals One Republic would kill for. The result is a song about loss which looks forward more than it dwells in the past.
There’s nothing vague here; Jarvis paints vivid pictures, but does so with pop music in mind – the hooks, therefore, propel the songs. “Some days I want to run away, some days I want to stand right in place,” he sings on “Runaway,” hitting the nail on the head. “You can’t look back …” is the theme of these eleven songs which make up Beautifully Broken. The result is an album which plays brilliantly as an exploration of loss which dares to be upbeat and honest. The thundering percussion touches on “Tidal Wave,” as the song breaks down into a full-on celebration of living life while we can, showcases Jarvis’s ability to carry us away in song. “I’m in the wake of a tidal wave, brings me back around again and I will make it through …” he sings, and in this moment we believe.
Take his advice: start by letting go of your preconceptions. The music will speak fully for itself. That’s the mark of a songwriter worth paying attention to.