The latest recording from Angie Bruyere and her band, the Deserters, represents perhaps a pivotal moment in the singer and songwriter’s career. Unlike her last release, Blood Like Wine, You finds Angie in a decidedly introspective mood and putting any predilections for rockier material on the backburner. As well, there’s an experimental side that emerges on the new EP that gives the new material quite a spin. It is thrilling to hear Angie and the Deserters exploring a wide range of sounds within their respective styles and their ability to do so without losing anything from their central talents, convincing singer/songwriter driven Americana, rates as the EP’s single greatest strength with everything else falling into place as a result.
The first song, “Stay”, is a beautifully rendered ballad that never plays on the listener’s emotions and, instead, creates an exquisite musical mood that Angie moves through with deep feeling and consideration. The addition of fiddle to the musical mix is the first of the little stylistic touches she brings into the picture to help elevate these songs and it has an enormously positive impact on the beginning of this EP. Her lyrical content is quite enjoyable for a couple of big reasons. One, it never overreaches and it’s clear Bruyere has spent considerable time tailoring the words with the musical content. Despite its purpose of serving the music, however, Bruyere’s lyrical content is a step above the typical fare in this genre. She has real literary skill and a talent for understated narrative that brings a lot of good to her songwriting.
She takes a cue from classic country and knocks one out of the park with the EP’s second song “Forgetting to Forget”. Many will be convinced, after listening to this release, that Bruyere has an unquestionable talent for bringing traditional imagery from country and blues music alike into modern narrative twisted with more than just a touch of the personal. She further realizes the potential of the material by giving the lyrical content everything she has as a vocalist, never cheating the audience, but always respecting the song and its compositional limits.
The title cut, “You”, pulls out another surprise as Bruyere writes this track, or at least significant portions of it, in waltz time. The decision to pursue a time signature lacking all commercial appeal shows that she has the courage to pursue the sound she hears in her head while also commanding the talent to take the audience along with her on rides they don’t yet that they want to take. The title song is one such example of this. Many listeners will find themselves soon humming the melody and admiring the turnarounds and transitions that help make this song work so well.
The undoubtedly rock and roll heart of the release arrives with the song “When the Nighttime Comes”, but the roaring electric guitar employed in that song doesn’t necessarily lead the way, but simply underscores the desperate mood pervading the track. The deliberate tempo and largely acoustic color of the track never accelerates or loses its way while Bruyere makes use of the song’s ample dramatic potential. You is the fullest realization yet of Angie and the Deserters talents and should whet everyone’s appetite for the next full length release.