We try to be as musically diverse as (in)humanly possible with our small operation but mostly it comes down to picking stuff to promote that speaks to us. More often than not that “stuff” flies somewhere under the banner of HEAVY in various forms with a similar emphasis on the Post-whatever genre. However, every once in awhile we have something come across ye olde digital desk that both speaks to us AND is well outside the usual fare that comes out of this space so double win when that happens. Like today. With Travels With Brindle’s debut full-length Notes From Undergrad which is the best Ukulele-driven Pop record you’ll hear this year. And yes, you read that right: “Ukulele-driven Pop”. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Spearheaded by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, ahem, Chelsea Spear, the debut from Travels With Brindle features a cornucopia of polished Pop that’s diverse, dynamic and delivers a serene sonic journey over the course of its’ twelve tracks. Starting off with “Something’s Wrong”, newcomers are immediately greeted by Spear’s exquisite ukulele prowess and heavenly voice conveying the song in much the same way one would hear a lullaby which sets a tone for the rest of Notes From Undergrad that’s warm and inviting.
Those vibes effortlessly flow into “Two Devils” with Spear’s hushed plucking and Marshunda Smith’s cello accompaniment at the forefront before expanding into a nice shuffle with Hilary Lahan’s percussion adding more elements. “Letterlocked” is quirky and kind of orchestral and… is that a typewriter we hear? Hopefully this can only mean a collaboration with Boston Typewriter Orchestra is in order eventually. But anyway! “Miss Lonelyhearts” is divine, opening up into a veritable Pop Rawk jam featuring guitars by Christian DeKnatel before the quick-witted “Where” gives us all the “Weird Al” feels… but serious. And that’s not a knock! If you know us then you know of our love of the parody-spewing accordion legend.
Further in Notes…, “Ivan” glistens as Spear strums a mellow melody and “Linden Street” is a playful offering with an infectious chorus leading toward the quiet “Rudolph’s Ranch” which might just be your next favorite holiday ditty. “Paper Vampire” is haunting, “Switching Tracks” is an Alt Rawk stomper built on some driving beats offset by Spear’s singsong style, “A Toast” is a happening hymnal sounding like the end of a night out with some great friends, and finisher “Another Year” is a fitting coda to this colorful collection of irresistible new Pop tunes.
Notes From Undergrad arrives on June 2nd. You can get all your pre-stuff on now by heading here or by clicking the stream below. For the latest from Travels With Brindle, including info on the record release eve show at Somerville Public Library, follow the trail of socials by clicking here, here, or here.