Tag Archives: James Brute

James Brute : Lost Soul Music, EP released January 2020

A track by track review of ‘Lost Soul Music’ from James Brute, the long awaited follow-up to 2014’s macabre percussion and vocal single ‘Bury Yourself’.

1. Again-Again A stately but sinister blues guitar riff marches through the mix marking time like a giant swinging pendulum blade. The desperate vocals from James are a match for this moody music from the five-piece band, especially when the chorus bursts into life.

2. Here She Comes At nearly eight minutes this movie soundscape takes plenty of time to build the atmosphere and when the opening lines finally arrive ‘…I feel like Don Quixote…taking on the windmills in my mind…’ memories of the two albums by previous band The Brute Chorus are evoked with their lyrical density and plethora of references.
Like the classic desert horizon movie scene in Lawrence Of Arabia it is all in the anticipation of the arrival of the enigmatic figure and the gradually building power of the instrumentation.
With impressionistic phrases ‘….she swims among the fishes, she feeds me figs and dates and oranges and plums…..’ and the barely contained fireworks of the band and voice this is a spectacular track.

3. Danielle Opening with a gentle guitar figure and subtle cymbal percussion this meditation revolves around another mysterious character, the quasi-biblical Danielle, ‘….welcome back again, this is the lion’s den you’re walking in….while the others are asleep pull the thorns out of my feet and lead me away….’. It may end well ‘….I think this must be love but I’ve been wrong before….’ but the ominous bursts from the band indicate a darker future…?

4. Archaeologist Blues
This loose, strolling blues is a vocal tour de force, packed full of imagery and ideas, namechecking cultural touchstones ‘….Time Team and Indiana Jones….‘ along with some sharp one-liners ‘….I’ve traded honey for a bee sting….‘ always leading to the haunting hookline ‘….give me one second I will try to reveal it….‘.
The band are given a real chance to shine around a guitar solo in the second part of the song before the vocal finishes abruptly, bringing this excellent EP to an end.



Recommendation : The Brute Chorus/James Brute

I first saw The Brute Chorus when they were one of the many attractions at the Cambridge ‘Wish You Were Here’ one-day festival in 2010. The venue was the pre-expansion gig room at The Portland Arms, the perfect setting for the up-close intensity and involvement of a genuinely original act.

It may have been a conventional line-up of drums, guitar/keyboards and bass but somehow the treated guitar twisted and changed to counterpoint the vocal stylings of singer James Steel. Blues, rockabilly, psychedelia and indie-pop; it was all in there with the added bonus of lyrical mini-operas involving death, classical and mythological characters, somehow given a wry retelling with a musical backdrop as sharp as a flick-knife. Their debut album, recorded in a live setting at the Roundhouse was sold in a hand-made wooden sleeve and it is splendid stuff indeed (standout tracks were the opener ‘Hercules’ and the paranoid brooding of ‘Chateau’. And probably the rest of the album too).

The second CD ‘How The Caged Bird Sings’ was more introspective but equally effective, the tracks ‘Could This Be Love?’ and ‘Heaven’ were both great pop songs. ‘(This Christmas) Bury Me In Hawaii’ was a dark seasonal recording, then another single, a support slot at Shepherds Bush Empire……and suddenly they were playing a ‘final’ gig and saying goodbye to many disappointed fans.

But all is not lost, James Steel has reinvented himself as James Brute, he has new recordings (including ‘Bury Yourself’, with a video performed inside a coffin..?!) and he is playing live again……