Review – Speak, Brother – Dry Bones EP

So, this is unusual in the fact I’m reviewing something not directly related to worship music. However, as I’ve written about so often in the past, worship isn’t just what we sing on a Sunday morning, but our entire lives lived out in passion and honesty before God, faithful to his call.

Speak, Brother firstly are good friends of mine, and I make no apologies for being completely biased towards their music, but I also genuinely hold a deep affection for their sound, songwriting and passion.  Individually, they are proud to declare their faith in Jesus, and collectively make no attempts to hide their beliefs, however their music does does not necessarily shout their faith from the rooftops, maybe even less so than even Mumford & Sons spiritually inspired lyrics. However their songs of life, love and pain carry hope, not despair, and this is refreshing compared to the life-songs paraded by many bands that only cling on to shadows of real-hope, rather than the real thing.

‘These dry bones are yours to live’ rings the anthemic chorus of their debut single. The single video (seen below) follows the story of an old man in despair, ending with a flickering hope of something unseen – and this carries the Speak, Brother legacy…hope being found in the death of a close one, or a lost love. There is no unresolved tension in the songwriting because that hope is always there, even when unspoken.

Both their single Dry Bones and their new EP which carries a further 3 songs, capture their live sound and energy brilliantly.  Their folk inspired acoustic song-stories glimmer with piano, acoustic guitar, mandolin and harmonies. James Herrings vocals are vibrant and passionate, searing and strong one moment with beautiful vibrato and just enough rasp, and then, as we find on the final song Two Bands Of Gold, sounding broken and emotional.  Nathan Morris (bass, percussion) and Matthew Cotterill (keys) also provide great vocal backup flavouring the textures with harmonies to complete the beauty.  The musicianship of all three band members is evident in well thought out arrangements that allow space for each of them to shine, under the guidance of both their own and Pete Dowsetts production.

Their sound might echo bands like Mumford & Sons or even Rend Collective but they do not seek to imitate, but bring an honest musical offering of their own – superb songwriting, arrangements and production, make this an essential gem to get your hands on.  Check them out now at http://speakbrother.co.uk

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