Brian Bulger | Nine of 10

 
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Family Average: 5/7

Lets bring it all home today with Brian Bulger. Rounding out or week of reviews is Brian Bulger. On their soulful new album Nine of 10 Brian takes us all on a tour of their life. Everything seems to be covered in a sepia tone. Remember when people used to use that? Time is funny huh. It has gone on long enough that old stuff is old, and now making new stuff look old is also old. Fans of folky country tunes rejoice this day belongs to you! Also keep your eyes peeled for our interview with Brian dropping later this week.

Look below and see what the family had to say.

 
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Brian Bulger gives us the perfect album to finish off a hectic day. The best way for me to describe this album would be comfortable and warm. It’s wholesome and has a beautiful melancholy to it. It reminded me a bit of the nostalgic bittersweet sound of the Decemberists. The songs all fit into this mold, but somehow carve out their own individuality. They flow together well too, starting with the warmer stuff, delving into a sense of loss, and then climbing back up to a feeling of acceptance and hope. Sometimes when an artist sticks with a limited instrumental style things can get stale pretty fast, or songs can kinda drone on. But the songs not only provided variation between each other, but also within themselves. The singer’s inflection or cadence would change, vocal accompaniments would be added or removed. The musical accompaniment swells and subsides, like waves rocking a rowboat. Sometimes an instrument wouldn’t show up until like halfway through the song. It all helped to keep things fresh and my mind invested. I was planning on surfing the net or cooking dinner while I listened but in the end I kinda just put my head down and closed my eyes cause it was nice to just straight-up give it my full attention, which I gotta admit I don’t do often. Even the ones that weren’t too strong still had some merit. Sometimes I’m like “okay I’ve heard enough to get it” and wanna change a song, but I didn’t feel like that with any of these

I don’t know how they were able to inject so much soulfulness and emotion into that violin but damn they did, whenever it came up I was just like yeah here we go nice. And the electric guitar would mix in with the acoustic sometimes. The guitar is a major player in most of the songs, but songs where it’s not are handled super well and still match the mood. For example, the drum-centric “Scared Again” and the piano-laden “On the Mend.”

I don’t know what it is about the singer’s voice, but it’s just the perfect level of smoothness and sincerity. It sounds world-weary yet still young. And I know the female vocalist didn’t come to the fore too often but when she did in “Golden” I was pleasantly surprised. She does good backups but damn she’s great as lead too.

Gonna borrow one of dad’s favorite expressions because it works too well; this album fits like an old, familiar sweater. It’s unobtrusive, it gently requests your attention and does what it needs to do to keep it. Will definitely be revisiting this album many times over.

6/7

 
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I was swaying so hard to Brian Bulger my feet almost swung right off! Oh what a delight this is to listen to on a Sunday night as I clean my apartment, water my plants, and cook up some sweet potatoes.

Every song shows a lot of care in the composition. It’s all sweet and comforting, like being wrapped up in a blanket in the back of a car the way home from somewhere woodsy. They’re the kind of songs that make you smile and cry at the same time. You know? Like make you breathe a little different. Ah, or perhaps I am just a sucker for finger picking guitar, the occasional but not overbearing piano, and lyrics about loss or heartbreak. I was surprised to read that he’s moved around a ton, because it they all sound so much like a small town that nobody ever seems to leave.

I feel like I’ll finish this review with some many stones left unturned. I regret writing it so close to the deadline haha. There are so many lyrics I’d like to examine—I feel like I could listen to them over and over.  Like “The Painter” for example: “There’s a shadow on her skin, and the lines show where she’s been. If you can see me paint me in. Call me back again.”

Thank you Brian Bulger! What a bittersweet little Sunday you’ve offered me.

7/7

 
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Brian has produced a very peaceful composition. Perfect music for a lazy Sunday after a long night of drinking with you much younger children in NYC. Most of the tracks are simply vocals and guitar or piano. I especially liked “long haired boy” it had a Dan Fogelberg quality to it. At other times a was reminded of Leonard Cohen. I had high hopes for “The Painter” I liked the title before I even heard the track I was hoping to experience a very intimate look into the life of a painter, with a title so strong, the song has to draw you into the story and that is just what it did. “On the Mend” was again peaceful with the vocal harmonies and the string instruments it was a pleasant track, the perfect backdrop for a Sunday afternoon, and a fitting end of the album, “everything breathes again”

 4/7

 
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Brian has got wholesome tunes bulging out of all sides of this Brian Bulger original album. Seriously though, I walked away from my first listen feeling radiant. Although there are some spooky valleys and sad detours. There is constantly this glow coming out of the center of the album. Positive vibes my friends. 

The sound on this album is full bodied. Even the tracks with only vocals and acoustic guitar are layered up high like a fine looking cake. Cavernous reverb is added to background singers, and guitars to create large uplifting chops through a majority of the tunes. I have said this in almost every one of my reviews, but I am going to say it again here. Feel free to tell me to stop doing this if you ever see me in the streets. I find I enjoy music a lot more when I can see the torn edges. Again this is just a preference I have it is no way a dig at the album. In fact kind of the opposite. The production on this album is impeccable. It's that kind of thing that scares away the grimy grungy weirdo in me.

Brian has got a real way with words on this album. The tracks take you down the sights and scenes from the life of the artist. I Shut my peepers while this album is on and I can clearly see the scenery going by in a car window. That is a swell feeling.

 

4/7  

 
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What a wholesome, earnest lad strumming his way through some equally wholesome and earnest songs. There is something so inherently good about him that if he ever told me that he was disappointed in me, I don't think I would recover.

In all seriousness, something about this album warms my heart. It soothed me and forced me to slow down during a pretty hectic day. The production is immaculate, the acoustic guitar and layered folk-infused instrumentation is really lovely, it’s got some good stomping choruses, and the songwriting feels genuine. He writes of love and regrets with a certain respect and reverie. With boyish and charming vocals, the lyrics make him sound wise beyond his years.

I feel like Brian Bulger would give good life advice. Hit me up.  

4/7

 
Sean Maldjian