Music

Ane Brun: It All Starts With One

It All Starts with One is the sound of a developing artist and entrances in its finest moments but loses itself at various points along the way.


Ane Brun

It All Starts with One

Label: [PIAS]
US Release Date: 2012-05-01
UK Release Date: 2012-11-01
Amazon
iTunes

Ane Brun recently won the Scandinavian equivalent of the Grammy award for Best New Artist based on the strength of what's poised to be her major breakthrough, the quiet and gentle It All Starts with One. The accolade should come as no surprise as the album is expertly crafted throughout and boasts a song that features the vocal talents of First Aid Kit and another that features José González. Those two names alone would've been cause for anyone to take notice. That neither over-shines Brun is both a testament to not only how well It All Starts with One is crafted but to how strong of an emerging voice Brun is.

However, as strong as It All Starts with One is, it definitely has moments where it falters and runs the risk of losing the listener by simply becoming too standard. Luckily, that point isn't hit on the opening track, "These Days", nor its follower, "Words". Both serve as a wonderful introduction to both Brun and the record by being frail songs injected with her lilting heartfelt songs. They can simultaneously drag you in and break your heart, in keeping with the best quiet songs in the singer/songwriter vein. Of the two, "These Days" is the stronger track, bringing out more of Brun's strength by underscoring her vocals with floor tom rolls and organ swirls. It's a quietly seductive piece and one of the albums best moments. While "Words" doesn't lose the pace of It All Starts with One it does serve as an early indicator that this might be a somewhat uneven album, despite being a perfectly fine track on its own.

Another standout is "Worship", the track that immediately follows "Words". This is thanks largely in part to the contribution from José González who turns out to be a perfect complement to Brun's wistfulness. The way their two personas play off of each other is riveting to the point of distraction. It's a contained moment that continues It All Starts with One's trend of being at its most gripping in its quietest moments. "Worship" is also notable for its beautiful minimal string arrangement and the gorgeous melody in the verses, which would've been enough to make the song a standout without the effort put in by González. Curiously, it's followed by the other collaborative track on the album, "Do You Remember". Once again, Brun's style syncs up quite well with First Aid Kit's although the results aren't nearly as entrancing. "Do You Remember" is Brun's first foray into an up-tempo number and while it functions well as a single, it feels disjointed in the context of the album.

The latter half of It All Starts with One follows suit of what was accomplished and established prior. What proves to be most gripping are the starkest moments and it can veer dangerously close to becoming too unnoticeable. One song that does differ from the formula, however, is "One". It's the quickest song on the album but one of the brightest moments. There's a culmination of intriguing influences that adds up to a memorable whole. "One" is followed by one of the albums most devastating moments with "The Light From Love" which showcases Brun's vocals and a haunting piano melody, punctuated at certain points with an eerie chime ring buried in the background. It's a moment that goes unmatched until the stunner of a closing track, "Undertow".

"Undertow" is, by a long shot, the track most indicative of Brun's promise and talent. Every aspect that made her slow songs so memorable is ratcheted up a few levels here and brings the song to a level approaching masterpiece. Everything works perfectly, the crashing cymbals and floor tom rolls at the most chaotic moments, the evocation of personal wreckage, complementary backing vocals, a beautiful melody, smart structure, and strong songwriting. It doesn't let its grip loosen once over the course of its six and a half minute run-time. "Undertow" nearly single-handedly destroys the memories of the albums weak points. However, while it does serve as a distraction from that fact for a while, they're still evident on repeat listens. While It All Starts with One isn't Ane Brun's masterpiece, it should earn her a considerable amount of deserved acclaim and put everyone on notice. Her masterpiece may be here in the near future but for now she's left us with a record very easy to digest and just as easy to enjoy.

6

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

9
Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane
Music

Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".

Music

Jordan Tice's "Bad Little Idea" Is a Satirical Spin on Dire Romance (premiere)

Hawktail's Jordan Tice impresses with his solo work on "Bad Little Idea", a folk rambler that blends bluesy undertones with satiric wit.

Music

Composer Ilan Eshkeri Discusses His Soundtrack for the 'Ghost of Tsushima' Game

Having composed for blockbuster films and ballet, Ilan Eshkeri discusses how powerful emotional narratives and the opportunity for creative freedom drew him to triple-A video game Ghost of Tsushima.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Film

Love and Cinema: The Ruinous Lives in Żuławski's L'important c'est d'aimer

Żuławski's world of hapless also-rans in L'important C'est D'aimer is surveyed with a clear and compassionate eye. He has never done anything in his anarchic world by the halves.

Books

On Bruce Springsteen's Music in Film and TV

Bruce Springsteen's music in film and television captured author Caroline Madden's imagination. She discuses her book, Springsteen as Soundtrack, and other things Springsteen in this interview.

Music

Alt-pop's merci, mercy Warns We May "Fall Apart"

Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter, merci, mercy shares a video for her catchy, sophisticated anthem, "Fall Apart".

Film

Tears in Rain: 'Blade Runner' and Philip K. Dick's Legacy in Film

Blade Runner, and the work of Philip K. Dick, continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?

Music

London Indie-Poppers the Motive Impress on "You" (premiere)

Southwest London's the Motive concoct catchy, indie-pop earworms with breezy melodies, jangly guitars, and hooky riffs, as on their latest single "You".

Books

Vigdis Hjorth's 'Long Live the Post Horn!' Breathes Life into Bureaucratic Anxiety

Vigdis Hjorth's Long Live the Post Horn! is a study in existential torpor that, happily, does not induce the same condition in the reader.

Music

Konqistador and HanHan Team for Darkwave Hip-Hop on "Visaya"

Detroit-based electronic/industrial outfit, Konqistador team with Toronto hip-hopper HanHan for "Visaya", a song that blends darkwave and rap into an incendiary combination.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.