Saturday, December 2, 2023
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Lonely The Brave – What We Do To Feel Review

Losing this deep in the email inbox because a loose “are” made its way into the title when never there in the first place, Lonely The Brave is back. Their latest rocking record, What We Do To Feel, shows exactly that. This is what the band do to feel their way through the dark tides. No time to waste on What We Do To Feel which has not the patience to build an opening. Give it a second and the rough screeches of frontman Jack Bennett are already secured in place – as solid as can be for a band chasing shadows. Alternative rock gets no brighter, and the sooner the likes of Lonely The Brave accept this, six albums into a sound never drifting from the original port of call a decade ago, the better.  

What We Do To Feel is no torture, though, it is a harmless piece. Opener Long Way kicks it all off with amicable stylings. The Lens does the same. Articulate playing and acceptable riffs are the core of this – and there are few variations in between. Disappointing it may be to idly sit by and listen in to Lonely The Brave in this latest iteration, it does give a bit of time to square up emails or make dinner. A passive experience this is. From every riff to all these lyrics of feeling awake in some angst-ridden torment over lost loves on Our Sketch Out, Lonely The Brave land as well as can be expected for fans of their fluid and by-the-numbers alternative rock experience. They can comfortably slot themselves into those respectable venues, but their sound is lacking in uniqueness.  

Empty strings on Our Sketch Out give Lonely The Brave a little life but no more comes of it, buried beneath the croaky vocals and unremarkable guitar work. Look away for a moment and come back to What We Do To Feel. Bring your attention in and out of it. Nothing changes. It just goes on and the reception it brings with it is awkward and not at all disruptive as rock should be. Instead, the clunky fixtures throughout this piece are levelled at those angst-ridden teenagers who are not cool enough for the alternative rock proper and not weird enough for the emo-phase they no doubt just left. They are similar to Anchor Lane, whose indifferent stance prompts search after search for who covered their material – only to find out it was yourself.  

Album closer The Bear sadly has nothing to do with the hit show of the same name. Should Lonely The Brave have followed suit and provided hit after hit, it would mean What We Do To Feel is far more enjoyable than it currently is. Just moments after moving on from What We Do To Feel – much like Kaiser Chiefs’ new single – there is not a memory of it ever playing. Lonely The Brave will do well for established fans hoping for identical and safe pieces. But for those who expected a little more, a push or shove in some new direction, it was not to be. Rigor Mortis has set in and Lonely The Brave are firmly stuck to this place of theirs, unlikely to ever move again.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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