Lonely The Brave have always felt like a band with higher ambitions. Their debut album ‘The Day’s War’ sounded more like a group ready to pack stadiums, than the theatres and clubs they found themselves in. With guitar music seemingly on the wane, I was worried that one of the last torch bearers had peaked too early, but my fears were soon dispelled as a handful of tracks from their second album started to trickle into the public sphere.
‘Black Mire’, the first single from ‘Things Will Matter’, provided early evidence Lonely The Brave were not going to sit on their laurels, with understated verses and an epic chorus saturated in reverb. If anything, it felt like a step away from the accessible tracks on their debut and into something more complex, somewhat darker and more aloof. Of the first tracks to be released, ‘What If You Fall In’ followed in a similar vain, whilst ‘Rattlesnakes’ showcased the band’s knack for souring guitar riffs in Idlewild’s ilk.
Just like their debut, every track on their latest album seems to be slotted into place with artistic precision. It’s an album to listen through from start to finish; opening with the haunting ‘Wait In The Car’, to the mid-album rolling beats of ‘Play Dead’, and the post-rock slow build of ‘Jaws Of Hell’ that closes ‘Things Will Matter’ with a rich wall of fuzzy guitars.
What underpins the consistency of this album, just like 2014’s ‘The Day’s War’, is the undeniable class of David Jakes’ beautifully gravelled vocal. Sometimes singers make bands, and it would be difficult to deny Jakes’ that accolade here. From the way he rasps his vowels, to the breathless way he utters every note as if it’s his last, his delivery cuts deep, and it’s hard to think of any guitar bands in recent history that boast such a giant of a frontman.
Undoubtedly one of the finest groups to come out of the Cambridge scene in recent years, Lonely the Brave deliver a master class in balancing lyrical aplomb with an expansive rock sound on ‘Things Will Matter’. If you want proof that guitar music is not dead, look no further than this band.
Lonely The Brave play the Cambridge Corn Exchange on May 20th
‘Things Will Matter’ is out May 20th
Words by Zak Thomas