At one point five years ago, the future of Lonely The Brave looked uncertain. The departure of stunning vocalist David Jakes left a void to fill. Thankfully, Jack Bennett (AKA Grumble Bee) stepped in to the fill those shoes. Yet, the attention that welcomed Lonely The Brave‘s first two albums wasn’t quite the same for Bennett’s debut outing. Admittedly, 2021’s ‘The Hope List’ was unfortunately released in the middle of a global pandemic. Nevertheless, it maintained the cinematic, heartfelt rock that Lonely The Brave have carved out for themselves. While Bennett showed he was more than capable of being the band’s frontman.
Fast-forward to 2023, and life is back to normal (kinda), and Lonely The Brave have used their live experiences with Bennett at the helm to their advantage. On fourth album, ‘What We Do To Feel‘, the “new vocalist” aura that hovered throughout ‘The Hope List’ has gone, and sees Lonely The Brave deliver a collection of rich and empowering songs.
With Bennett overseeing production duties, and his bandmates balancing everyday responsibilities with writing and recording separately, it’s somewhat surprising that ‘What We Do To Feel’ sounds like a band united. Sure, the urgency of ‘Long Way’ with Bennett’s weathered vocals and Mark Trotter’s subtly complex guitar riffs brings a sense of familiarity, yet it’s executed with such warmth.
Album lead single, ‘The Lens’, captures Lonely The Brave‘s best traits; swelling alt-rock that soars while offering a comforting hand to hold. Later on, ‘Eventide’ follows a similar path, providing one of the album’s most radiant moments. Its earthly rush gives way to distant guitars and Bennett’s despairing vocals, as well as another reliable trait – sweeping moments of grandeur.
‘Our Sketch Out’ is somewhat timid in its opening yet bursts with a luminous chorus, before succulent strings are employed are introduced. Of course, the use of strings clearly lends themselves to the cinematic magnificence LTB has repeatedly utilised, yet when it sounds as affirmative and reassuring as it does on here, or later ‘Colour Me Sad’, you can’t help but get lost in it all. Considerably, the album’s most “cinematic” moment ideally comes in its finale – ‘The Bear’. Its tender and gradual build allows Bennett’s words of despair to take the spotlight.
Throughout ‘What We Do To Feel’, LTB are able to conjure up dramatic moments that build and are pulled off with expert execution. The pairing of ‘The Ramp’ and ‘In The Well’ demonstrates LTB‘s ability to steadily drift effortlessly, while simultaneously proving to be lyrically compelling. Benentt’s introspective words of “I did a bad thing, I couldn’t take control” merely add to the drama created. Whereas, ‘Victim’ wraps itself in stirring drama, highlighting Bennett’s ability to weave in between moments of angst and relief. Backed by escalating guitars, Gavin Edgeley’s pulsating drums, and Andrew Bushen’s tight bass lines, it provides a different shade to Lonely The Brave‘s often autumn-esque palette.
No matter who’s singing the songs, Lonely The Brave continue to be reassuring. ‘What We Do To Feel’ is a record from a band that avoids trends, and instead embraces the everyday triumphs and tribulations. It’s allowed them to make a record that is honest and humble. For those who may have lost interest, due to the vocalist change, will discover a band aligned with one another. Along with a vocalist firmly embedded in to Lonely The Brave‘s soul-stirring fabric.
‘What We Do To Feel’ by Lonely The Brave is released on 10th November 2024 on Easy Life Records.