There’s something special about Lonely The Brave, and even if larger outlets refuse to cultivate that anymore, it’s not something that should be ignored. In terms of what British alt-rock has to offer, theirs is some of the rawest, most emotionally intense examples around, powered by towering atmospherics and David Jakes’ unpolished but totally enrapturing vocals. And just like Deaf Havana before them, there’s a creative impulse to their music that lends itself so naturally to reinvention and reworking.
Still, a few notable contrasts remain. For one, ‘Things Will Matter’ is a far less immediate album and the way that it’s reworked here only serves to emphasise that. Solemn pianos form the basis of ‘Rattlesnakes’, while airy acoustic textures create the foundations for ‘Diamond Days’ and the newly-included title track. It’s an album that feels colder overall thanks to a reliance on minor tones, and given the sense of darkness and dread by the jagged, frosty electronics that have replaced guitars almost entirely on ‘Black Mire’ and ‘Strange Like I’.
It’s arguably a particularly inhospitable listen, but as ‘Things Will Matter’ unfurls, that becomes the point. While that emotional core of the original remains intact, what’s around it portrays these thoughts as a lot darker, and with the plucked strings on ‘Jaws Of Hell’ close the album out with Jakes’ weathered burr, there’s something so evocative about the way that Lonely The Brave craft their narratives. This may be a story that’s already been told, but there’s such a rich instrumental nous that it remains totally fresh.
Even so, it goes without saying that this is essentially for the die-hards only, and is unlikely to entice any new fans to the cause. But where Lonely The Brave have unequivocally succeeded is in creating a reworked album that holds just as much weight and power as the original. More than most, this feels less like a companion piece and more of a vehicle to tie up loose ends and get the best possible result from their vision. If that’s not the sign of a special band, then what is?
‘Things Will Matter (Redux)’ by Lonely The Brave is out now on Hassle Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)