Artist Spotlight

Review: Braeves, “Drifting By Design”

No Comments 7 September 2014

Review: Braeves, “Drifting By Design”

Drifting by Design is the perfect title to encapsulate the calculated way in which this quartet will win you over with their charming brand of soulful pop.”

Artist: Braeves

EP: Drifting by Design

Genre: Pop / Rock

RIYL: The Shins, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes

Braeves Drifting by Design

There are times to overanalyze what you’re hearing, and then there are times to just let lush harmonies and intricately woven melodies wash right over you without a second thought. This is where Braeves, a Long Island indie pop/rock quartet, comes careening into the picture with their new EP Drifting by Design.

In the span of a brief five tracks, long-time best friends Ryan Colt Levy and Derek Tramont make gorgeous work with fellow musicians Thomas Killian McPhillips IIV and Nick LaFalce with a brand of otherworldly pop rock in the vein of Fleet Foxes or Grizzly Bear. It’s a hybridization of shimmering pop, expansive harmonies and folk rock that brims with soulfulness. This is a more mature version of what so many bands are parceling together in this revivalist return to folk; and in many respects, this feels like a much fresher, more modern version of what so many of us wish pop music would lean toward. The material on Drifting by Design relies less on production (which is nevertheless flawless here thanks to producer Mike Watts) and more on the strength and assertiveness of the songwriting and smooth delivery of the band.

“Guest of the Gun” makes an immediate and charmed impression, an endearing statement to open the EP. It’s a perfect pop song, bursting with warmth and an enveloping sound. “Talk Like Strangers” picks up right where the previous track lets off, dipping even further into the well of carefully chosen and elaborately woven riffs and harmonies.  “Souls in Transit” then veers into a sound that explores a bit more of a classic soul influence combined with a modern pop sound akin to The Shins. It’s warm, fuzzy and engulfs you with a hypnotic groove.

“Iron Hands” features a wonderfully liquid vocal and melody line that breathes in and out in all the right spots. “While Your Body Sleeps” closes the EP with a simple rhythm and melody that emulates that dreamy state between waking and sleeping. Again, it’s the choices made to let the notes and vocals retract and expand with earnestness that allows this track, in particular, to swing for the fences and deliver the peak moment every listener will be satisfied with.

Braeves is undoubtedly a huge talent; and the songs included on this gem of an EP will certainly stand as notice that they’ve arrived. Drifting by Design is the perfect title to encapsulate the calculated way in which this quartet will win you over with their charming brand of soulful pop. Make sure you listen to them now, so you can impress your friends with the discovery of smart, savvy songwriting.

Braeves website:


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