Album Reviews

Heron – The Brown Room

(Hut) UK release date: 18 March 2002

Heron - The Brown Room Heron‘s debut album is a self-produced majestic effort, blending American country, ’60s rock, psychedelia and electronica. An eclectic mix of beats and melodies, with influences ranging from Primal Scream and Delakota to Aphex Twin sees the musician dabbling with electronics and new sounds and mixing these with traditional songwriting.

Starting with the electro-funk of J-Funk, Heron takes us through the country piano balladry of I Want 2 Know, a theme revisited on Jukebox Saloon. The meandering, memorable rhythms flow sweetly over the lo-fi production and the result is a folk-tinged, touching song. The acoustic guitar psychedelia of We Get High offers an alternative, modern take on some of The Beatles‘ later, more narcotic offerings, whilst Keyboard Song is an innovative remaking of some of Cass Browne‘s work with Delakota.

The American rock/electronica crossover on Umbrella, Heron’s debut single, is both powerful and dramatic, as he mixes disparate beats and laid-back melodies to great effect. Meanwhile the recurring electro theme reemerges on Cracked Analogue as beats and electronics compete over the unusual soundscapes, an unlikely blend of Primal Scream and Beck. I’ll B Your Alibi makes for uneasy listening in some parts as high-tenor vocals merge with noise rock influences. Although one of the less inspirational tracks on offer, it shows a wide variety of influences and its unpredictability and sweeping changes are its saving grace.

The album’s closer is ballad Every Little Thing, a whispery, piano lament and a fitting finale to the album. The most memorable track on the album, its minimal but awe-inspiring melodies are a stroke of genius.

‘The Brown Room’ is an interesting album, as inspiring as it is innovative. Heron mixes a plethora of influences from the last four decades, whilst still conjuring up his own magical sound. His album is unlikely to change your life, but it is nevertheless a work of beauty and intrigue.

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Heron – The Brown Room