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Bruised And Weary Elegance: Bran Lancourt’s Fall Is The Season

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Rilke once described Fall as, “Containing depth within itself, darkness…”

It’s a difficult season, indeed. Emotionally, it’s less of a beginning and more of an aftermath: Summer romance fades into sepia as soon as September hits, and combining that with the heartbreak of the dissipating warmth, Autumn is perhaps the season that can maim us the most.

Fall is where folly turns to business–where being carefree shifts into being responsible, where the ocean turns to ice and the thrill of a pop song turns to a ghostly static.

For example, perhaps the saddest line in Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”–and there’s an orchard of them in there–comes when he confesses, “It’s late September and I really should be back at school…”

It’s hard not to hear the darkness Rilke mentions being referenced on Bran Lancourt’s new solo LP Fall Is The Season and it’s also hard not to hear the slow burn of business replacing the everclear forever days of the previous season.

Lancourt, who fronted Johnny Bravo with his brother Ansley in the early half of the ’90s, is a songwriter of tremendous heart and depth and all throughout this stirring twelve-song cycle, he occupies each number with a bruised and weary elegance. Mostly just accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar, Lancourt knows his way around a song–he takes the sharp corners with grace and he takes the even sharper ones with muscle.

“Never Enough” is a ghostly ode to dissatisfaction; “Art Of Goodbyes” moves through the shadows and low to the ground, with Lancourt wrestling with broken records and unreturned letters and “Beautiful Mistake” is a wrenching piano ballad that’s fueled by the frustration of being unable to capture a moment in time.

And that’s just the first three songs.

Lancourt may have the melodic sensibility of Paul McCartney (“Fall Is The Season”) and the poetic finesse of Paul Simon (“Let It Go”), but he’s also got a punk rock heart that beats with scruffy beauty throughout his work. The bluesy shuffle of “White Wolf” is as haunting as it is energizing; “Don’t Know How To Love You” is aching with honesty and the album closing “You’re The One” could be reason enough to resurrect the mix tape–it’s inclusion would secure a prom date, a college romance or a marriage.

Yes, it’s that good.

While year-end lists are being compiled, Lancourt’s under-the-radar release deserves a place at the top.

Check out Fall Is The Season here: