Brave New Girl
No One Ever Said
I’m always impressed when a band can pull off an eclectic mix of musical styles and still sound like a band, rather than a mix tape of assorted artists. I shouldn’t be at all surprised to find that Brave New Girl accomplish that feat – after all, singer Dunia Best once fronted the seminal ska combo Agent 99, who were renowned for similar skills. Where 99’s base was in ska, though, Brave New Girl’s songs are based in soul and jazz roots. This feel makes No One Ever Said a very smooth record, and while it’s danceable in a lot of places, it’s also excellent headphone and/or mood music. For example, the song “Brave New Girl” is perfect music for a rainy day. It starts out with a gorgeous melancholy that brings to mind a light shower with thunder rolling in the distance. Then the song builds in intensity and the storm rages, culminating in a thunderstorm as Dunia and second vocalist Tristra Newyear build to a fury, asking “What[base ‘]s the matter with your world?” Similarly, “Wrapped Up in Blue” is a smoky and torchy number that’s almost heartbreakingly beautiful. The jumpy “Eighth Street” is a soul stirrer of the highest caliber, while “No One Ever Said Goodbye” brings to mind the jazz-informed pop of Swing Out Sister. As she proved with Agent 99, Dunia’s stellar voice is up to any challenge put before it, be it the mournful “Why I Did It,” the Talking Book-era Stevie Wonder flavor of “Long Story,” or jazzy “One of These Days.” Simply put, she’s got an amazing voice, and she knows how to use it! The band is equally up to the challenges of the material, shifting gears effortlessly between styles without ever feeling forced. They sound very comfortable with their material, and each individual member shines in his or her role. This is a fantastic record that just about anyone can enjoy, and while I’d especially recommend it to folks with a taste for jazz and early ’70s-era Motown, I think anybody with an appreciation for talent could recognize No One Ever Said for the treasure that it is. Highly recommended.
Brave New Girl, http://www.bravenewgirl.com