I have a special place in my heart for Big Brave. My first encounter with them was in early 2016 when they opened for Sleep. I had never heard of them before and somewhat expected a stoner–doom sound, especially since they were opening for arguably one of the biggest stoner bands of all time. Instead, I witnessed a band from Montreal, Quebec step on stage and play something that could only be described as a magical amalgamation of sounds that, for lack of a better term, blew my mind away. So, I was incredibly excited when I was presented with the opportunity to review their latest record, Ardor.
I’ve never been good at pigeonholing a band into any particular genre. I simply enjoy music I like and don’t over think about where they fit on the musical spectrum. It’s even harder to do so with Big Brave, only because they’ve created a sound so unique to themselves. That being said, if you’re a fan of offbeat, heavy grooves backed by a horde of loud bass, drums, and outlandishly beautiful vocals, then Big Brave is absolutely a band you need to discover.
Ardor is only three tracks long. But don’t let that fool you. Each song runs over the ten-minute mark. In total, the record is approximately forty minutes in length.
The album kicks off with a track simply titled “Sound.” Almost as if they’re making a statement about themselves, this first track immediately presents everything you’re going to love about the band. Using a stop and start pattern, this song is dark, loud, and continuously assaults you on a sonic level while the vocals roar above the instrumentation. I knew I was going to love the rest of the record as soon as this first track was done.
“Lull” brings things down to a slower pace and showcases more of the beautiful experimentation and diversity this band has to offer. “Lull” provides a strange, yet soothing ambiance with the presence of beautiful sounding violins. That is, until the last four minutes of the track when the track opens up a little more. Imagine a strange blend of Radiohead, Portishead, Bjork and Sunn O))) and perhaps you may get a small inclination of what you’re getting.
“Borer,” the last track, is anything but boring, and is merely another example of their expertise in creating hypnotic, abstract sounds full of intense emotion.
Big Brave has been continually pushing themselves to get better with every record release, a goal I feel they’ve absolutely achieved. In a world of formulaic music, Big Brave don’t give a shit about following any musical blueprint. They do their own thing, they experiment, and they create music that, in my opinion, will stand the test of time.
I fucking love this band and you should too. If you wish to see them live, you’ll get your chance on September 30th when they play their record release show for Ardor at La Sala Rossa. If you’ve never seen them live, this is a must attend show. I promise.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Kate Erickson