The Brew - The Key

Already a much-discussed band throughout New England, The Brew have a genuine shot at capturing the ears of a much larger sect - the nation itself. Their second self-released album, The Key, is as friendly and instantly likeable as a boisterous puppy. A profound focus on song craft helps The Key maintain its easy accessibility, but it's the band's inherent talent that makes the album transcend mere music. Songs are a very good thing, but it often takes a little DNA from the members to make them unique and memorable, and to give them that distant, magical feeling. The Brew have the gift to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The Brew definitely pour themselves into each tune, and there's no hiding the mellow affability of guitarist Dave Drouin and keyboardist Chris Plante's respective vocals. In each song, the vocals are the crux, the element that holds your mind hostage while the instruments alternately complement and galvanize each thought. Tunes like "The Flood," "Hunter's Moon," and "Sharks in the Pool" have a wistful sound that manifests from the blood of thoughtful songwriters and makes the songs play like mini-movies in your mind. Complemented by music that is blissfully understated, the songs transform into mesmerizing concoctions reminiscent of the work of fine jam-poppers like Percy Hill and lyrical titans such as Sting. Breezy rock melodies are singed with just enough jazzy fire to make your heart pound, and the band constantly stirs emotional highs and lows through sounds and lyrics.

The reggae-tinged darkness of "Faces" has all the makings of an anthem, with standoffish vocals and playing that is noticeably more forceful than other tracks. It's probably the disc's most intense track, especially when juxtaposed with the gentle, yearning mood of "Safety" and the album-closing skyrocket "Radio Swiss." This trio of satisfying tunes solidifies feelings that the listener probably had during the course of the album - that The Brew are not to be casually noticed or lumped into the viscous pool of jambands. It's all too clear after one listen to The Key that The Brew have unlocked a big-hearted, special sound full of emotion and drama.