Music Review: Light Runs After Us by Speak, Brother

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Updated September 29, 2016
Music Review: Light Runs After Us by Speak, Brother
Speak, Brother  - Slow to Now
Speak, Brother - Lions Roar [Official Music Video]

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Track Listing

Slow to Now
Lions Roar
The Morning Calls Your Name
See For Miles

As well as finding a home in the intimacy of folk clubs in the Midlands and beyond, Speak Brother have also captured the imagination of large festival audiences: Appearing at The Great Escape Festival; twice at Coventry’s Godiva Festival; the main stage at Banbury Folk Festival; and they also played at the 2015 Wychwood Festival as part of the BBC Introducing lineup. Their songs have received airplay across the country, while the track Dry Bones reached the final of the International Songwriters' Competition, gaining an Honourable Mention in the ‘Folk Singer/ Songwriter’ category.

Read our recent interview with James Herring, lead singer of Speak, Brother.

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Light Runs After Us
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Personal Rating 
I have had the opportunity to see "Speak, Brother" live a couple of times in the last 8 months, but both times I have been busy "working" at the evenings, trying to get some photo's or doing interviews etc, because of this their 'live' music has failed to make much of an impression on me. So when I recently interviewed lead singer James Herring, and he gave me a copy of their new EP I was looking forward to listening to it.

In that interview James explained that the overriding theme of the EP was hope. He also described the difficulty of defining their style. Many people call them folk, and listening to this album there is a folk quality to it, but James prefers Indie. This does seem to fit better as the folky sound gives way to tearing vocals and at times anthemic qualities drive through everything else, most noticeably in the track "Lions Roar".

One thing that is immediately noticeable is the double meaning of some of the lyrics. They are not overtly "Christian" but can be understood in a Christian context. "Slow To Now" is about your fears, failures, hopes and dreams all being felt by the pressure of life and that how meeting with friends can bring relief because you can just, for that moment, "take our time, you know we've got all night, and slow to now". Of course this could be applied in the spiritual sense to slow down and spend time with God, to spend time and linger with Him and not rush away!

"Lions Roar" is something different, as alluded to above it's an anthemic song written for the town of Rugby and was their official song for the 2015 Rugby World Cup! However the themes that are alive in this song could easily be written for these few days just post EU referendum and the bewilderment of people at the result. This song is about unity and courage through adversity.

"Stay close oh brother and friend
They'll see us split into Islands.
Have we forgotten from where we have come?
Who we are and what we have done, until now?
And as the men we were, we lost our tongues and hearts.
As the men we were, we forgot what's ours..
I say 'no more'"

This is a bold song which actually lifts the spirits and reminds us of the things we have come through to be where we are today, and that we do not need to be overwhelmed by what's ahead.

"The Morning Calls Your Name" is where the title of the album comes from. This song is about walking through those times when everything looks bleak, when you can't think beyond getting through the day. The song reminds us that light and love run after us. No matter how bad things look and feel, the Sun will rise again. More than that though, light and love are the very expressions of Christ who, although not mentioned, is very much the hope in this song.

Rounding out this short EP is "See For Miles" which is an incredibly powerful and beautiful song. I won't give away the story behind it, I will let you discover it for yourself. The song itself is powerful and the passion expressed from Herring as the lead singer on this track is breathtaking. His voice strains and cracks slightly as he brings the emotion of the track, along with it's message, to the surface.

I haven't spoken too much about the music, because for me the message of this release is strong and was worth digging into and investigating. As I mentioned about this is an Indie album with folk flavouring. So the band are piano, lead guitar, bass and drums with other elements thrown, such as a bit of violin on "Lions Roar" for example, but apart from the bass everything feels more acoustic, even if it is sometimes 'keys' instead of an actual piano. Where there are added elements they don't rely on computer generated noise, but instead their own lead singers voice adds to the atmosphere. There is a lovely feel to these tracks, like they have been worked over and over and honed to be exactly what they want them to be. "See For Miles" is a track that was recorded live, and this works very well for this because I think the emotion that is captured would be hard to replicate in a studio.

This is a short EP, but deserves to be heard. I will say it again, right now "Lions Roar" is an anthem we need for the UK.

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