Review: BRYNN brims with confidence on debut album

BRYNN_Photo by Tatyana Levana Photography
BRYNN: Photo by Tatyana Levana Photography

The South African music scene has never had such a fresh and utterly invigorating sound like this in years. This is not an overstatement; this is a fact when you listen to Cape Town based alternative folk-rock quintet, BRYNN. Their majestic debut album Querencia evokes a wide range of emotions and its theme and the exploration and musical interpretation of it, is absolutely mesmerizing.

The band consists of Jules Terea  (vocals and guitar), Hezron Chetty (violin), Alex Smillie (bass), David Van Vuuren – (lead guitar and backing vocals) and Eddy Kriel (drums)

This experienced blend of musicians naturally could only come up with a symphonic masterpiece and that is exactly what Querencia is.

Track by Track Review:

  1. About Time

The sultry sounds of “About Time” gives an implicit indication of what this band wants to offer the listener in their music. It is a personal approach that draws the listener in, with a psychedelic blend of instruments, headed by a soothing trumpet and relaxing melody before vocalist Jules Terea lends his pipes to the opening track.

The lyrics “Don’t have to be so afraid to allow yourself to let go. It’s those you love that are right behind you to catch you if you fell,” is one of the best lyrics from this opening track that really captures the heart of the song which focuses on freedom, self-awareness and being the  best that you can be and most importantly being authentic.

  1. Querencia

“And I’m searching for Querencia and I will not stop until I find her and I’m gonna get her anyway,” is how this melodic track opens up with Terea lending his soothing voice to draw the listener in. The short and sharp lead guitar riffs from Dave van Vuuren and bass from Alex Smillie are also perfect in this song and forms the basis of this fantastic track. “Querencia” is a Spanish word which is defined as a place from where strength is drawn and where authenticity in you is found. In this song, Querencia is described as a person (she) and the search for this person. Finding yourself as well as your bliss is a journey that a person undertakes and this song is the perfect musical equivalent of this. A brilliantly composed track.

  1. White Collar Kings

This is a slow burner of a track that induces a large amount of soul and sustenance with its classical approach. Violins, synth, clean guitar melodies and the gentle voice of Terea, gives this number lasting appeal. “Remind yourself you are free, cause after all isn’t that what they tell you every night on your TV screen?” sings Terea in this track that lets the listener think about society and their own lives. The backing vocals in the final chorus is also one of the highlights of the song. The layered approach as well as the discrepancy between louder and softer elements creates a great build up in this song.

  1. Already Blind

Ominous is one way to describe the opening guitar riff in this song, with the mood fitting the lyrical content to a key. Kriel’s drumming then adds a nice pace to the song, before the volin adds something different and majestic to the song. The lyrics “there is no eye for an eye, the world is already blind,” is just one example of the lyrical nature of the track that lament what society has become. Look out for the frenzied musical progression in this song after the second chorus with an out of this world bridge. The pace picks up and concludes with a grungy outro – something fresh and completely BRYNN.

  1. Noose Knots

The explosive sound of BRYNN comes to the fore in this track with its Blues rock foundations. The keys to this track brilliance are rooted in its acoustic guitar rhythm, electric guitar leads, trumpet solos and all round musical expression. This is a track for all the musical purists out there. Just press play and let the musical notes sink into your soul.

  1. Vultures

In contrast to the previous track, Vultures uses a straightforward classical approach with Terea crooning along to a clean strummed guitar. It is this simplicity that makes Brynn truly stand out. “It’s not like I thought it would be, like it is supposed to be,”  and “the more you learn, the less you want to know.” is just another of example of the lyrical standard and an example of how the band’s music and lyrics intertwine to perfect effect.

  1. Cotton Mind

The self-introspective nature of BRYNN’s music are at the forefront here with potent and creative lyrics: “How much longer must we linger around these same old sins, cause I can’t move on. Wish I was strong. The black ink that you left for me stained my cotton mind. Can’t get it out as hard as I’ve tried.” This is truly one of the best lyrics on the album and its heartfelt emotion is brilliantly executed. One of the stellar songs on the album in my opinion.

  1. Claire

This is another slower song on the album which opens up with a beautiful violin melody from Hezron Chetty and accompanying acoustic guitars. The drums from Kriel then adds an extra dimension before Terea opens up with some reflective lyrics “perhaps it’s too late I can’t be sure , perhaps it’s our fate.”

The violin is the absolute highlight of this song which focuses on finding yourself and keeping your thoughts clear as you reach for true bliss. There is light behind the darkness is what this song seems to say. The repetition of the “Love will return” refrain is also one of the best part in my opinion where the piano adds and extra element to this beautiful song.

  1. Who You Are

The album ends off on a high note with a mini musical opus from BRYNN on the song “Who You Are” which continues the theme of self-exploration and identity found on Querencia. This song flows perfectly with some brilliantly lyrics and vocal delivery from Terea. The violin and electric guitar parts are perfectly crafted as Van Vuuren once again shines with a majestic solo in the bridge.



Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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