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Brendan Staunton has a lot to say in his new album “Last of the Light”

Brendan Staunton has a lot to say in his new album Last of the Light. He’s getting personal in “Mean to You,” cathartic in “River,” and to the point in “Nine Day Wonder.” He isn’t hiding behind the same old poeticisms that his forerunners once did, nor does he sound even remotely intrigued by the notion of following some commercial trend in the industry today. Last of the Light is a group of stories that start with Staunton himself, and through lyrics and music alike, he makes certain that we know what he’s got on his mind by the time this tracklist has been played-through.

URL: https://www.brendanstauntonmusic.com/about-brendan-staunton/

Although there’s an old school stylization to “A Girl,” “Smiled,” the previously mentioned “Nine Day Wonder” and “We Don’t Talk About It,” there’s nothing in this record that feels like an actual throwback. Staunton is placing as much of an emphasis on the melodic ties between the instruments as he is any given vocal harmony here, which is as contemporary in western pop as it gets in 2020, and even though there aren’t any robotic components to the rhythm, the beats here feel fresh, swinging (“Stop Believing”) and unconnected to genre politics.

“River” is definitely resonates with that desire to hit the open road and abandon the stresses of everyday life, but it’s not the only song here that can create a freeing feeling for the audience. “Smiled” and “Nine Day Wonder” are undeniably brooding, but they’re more optimistic than they are consumed with commiseration. This could be the biggest feature distinguishing Staunton’s style from that of his closest peers in the mainstream right now; his active will to stay out of the dark with his music. Nothing about Last of the Light has a gothic influence, with emotions staying relatively contained within relatable lyrical concepts.

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As much as I like the instrumentation in “Mean to You,” “Underwater” and “River,” Staunton’s voice is the heart-melting star of this record through and through. When he’s singing to the slick beat of “Nine Day Wonder” or “Stop Believing,” it’s hard to believe that this is his first LP as a solo artist. He’s got swagger that speaks volumes about what he could achieve in the future, and if there’s anything to be learned from Last of the Light, it’s that he isn’t the sort of singer/songwriter to back away from a challenging compositional model (even if it means breaking a couple of rules).

At the moment, it might be too great an understatement to say that there’s a ton of talent in this genre, but that isn’t stopping Brendan Staunton from standing out like a serious star in his new record. Last of the Light tests the waters for Staunton’s sound, and depending on the response it gets from critics and fans, I think it’s going to be the first of many melodic efforts he constructs in and, eventually, outside of the studio. It’s a good go-to LP for anyone who likes moderate pop/rock, and more specifically, listeners who can’t get enough of a solidly organic melody.

John McCall

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