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“Revolute”: Katey Brooks’ New Album Will Make You Cry, Dance and Then Cry a Little More

Just in time for Pride month, Revolute‘s fusion of soul, country, blues, and folk inspires strong feelings of loss, love, and pride as UK singer-songwriter Katey Brooks takes us through her mind and her relationships with the rest of the world as a songwriter and queer woman. Brooks sees this album as her most honest and authentic work to date, and credits music with helping her better understand herself and with saving her life in a 2018 interview.

Overall, this album’s subject-matter and combination of genres make it a colourful, jazzy, mesmerizing rollercoaster ride of emotions with a song for almost every mood. There are some key themes in her album that are explored with the songs, mainly dealing with love and loss but never shame. At times, it felt that some tracks sounded a little redundant, which can make this a little boring at times. That being said, the music itself is so beautifully constructed that it does not matter if one or two songs sound the same in my opinion.

 

To highlight some songs that really capture the spirit of the album, we can start with Never Gonna Let Her Go, Brooks’ unapologetic anthem about loving and being in love on her own terms, despite being shamed for her sexuality. From the beginning, the combination of gospel-style choral singing and the upbeat guitar does a wonderful job of pulling the listener into Brooks’ foot-tapping love song. Her voice glides over this base as she proclaims her love to the world, occasionally accompanied by soft bells and an organ that keep this song light and uplifting.

She replaces this boldness with quiet intimacy in the songs All of Me and In Your Arms. They inspire images of lonely backroads and uncertainty in the dark with her sad crooning and country guitar. A song about an inconsistent lover, All of Me takes on a character of being hurt but still longing, similar to a song like Hopelessly Devoted To You (Olivia Newton-John), and being open about the pain of wanting someone that does not want you. In Your Arms is more like a love letter or a diary set to the soft strumming of a distant guitar. The combination of the echo and warm humming in the background keep the song anchored, preventing it from becoming depressing and instead of making it a sweet farewell to a woman she ultimately knows may never hear her goodbye.

In The Sweetest Things, In Light of You and Jeremiah, she takes these feelings and puts them into motion with forward-marching guitar and drums. The Sweetest Things takes us down a stream of regret and acceptance, with the steady babbling of happy guitar and occasional cymbals that sound like drops of water in the ear making this one of the more refreshing sad songs on this album. In Light of You is decidedly sunnier, conjuring images of light filtering through trees in a song that is about being in a loving relationship. It has the sound of contemporary gospel, with both lyrics (that imitate oft-used lyrics about salvation) and components (piano, guitar, organ, and choir) that build to a beautiful climax and leave us with a happy conclusion. It is not clear what Jeremiah is about, but its rising and falling motion and eulogistic lyrics are moving, with the bridge being especially chilling.

The sadness of the preceding songs is done away with a couple of songs that showcase her vocal talent and the defiant message she wants to send, like Burn It Down, Trouble So Hard and Golden Gun. Similar to the way Adele in Set Fire to the Rain uses her voice and piano to convey power, as well as create tension, Brooks’ use of the choir and blues guitar builds these songs like rallying cries. Her voice is low and soulful, almost seductive, but occasionally explodes to showcase her talent, in the fashion of a spy-movie soundtrack or civil rights anthem. She sings with purpose in these songs, about what she has and what she wants to do.

Revolute will make you sad, which is not a bad thing at all; her discussions throughout the album are about loving and life, which are both all about emotion.

Featured Image Credit via Katey Brooks’ Instagram 

 

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