Some music you don’t skip past: some music, one small drop in a vast ocean of sound, can take you away for a moment when you simply listen to it, uninterrupted and completely immersed. You don’t often get music with that quality, but Joe Brown’s EP Lemonade, in three tracks, managed to achieve it.
The trinity of singles, Lemonade, 1994 and Epilogue are almost cinematic. Brown’s work is distinctive: the gentle instrumental seems to coruscate in the mind’s eye, all the while sounding incredibly emotive. It’s easy to listen to his music and be lulled into hypnosis: it’s dream pop at its finest, reminding me of pastel shades and Palma Violets.
Each of these songs are crowned with Brown’s hushed, hazy vocals that are at once gentle and wistful – like a lullaby. I would go so far as to draw parallels between Joe Brown’s music and the hallucinogenic sound of Mac DeMarco; I think I would be doing a lover of dream pop or psychedelia a disservice if I didn’t direct them to him. Lyrically, Brown’s work is tinged with a poignancy which, when married with the instrumental, makes something quite beautiful. I think that would be a fitting word to describe this EP: beautiful. This word doesn’t always apply to every piece of music, nor is it handed out easily, but I think Brown’s work here merits it just for how pretty, for want of a better word, his music sounds.
What I particularly like, above all, is the lo-fi, DIY element to his music that is present throughout. Each song begins and ends with a rough edge, which gives it a humble, personal air that you simply don’t find on studio-polished pieces.
Brown’s musical background adds another dimension to this element of his music: hailing from the small industrial town of Scunthorpe, Brown has proven himself to be a notable figure of the local scene, playing the drums in Reality Puppets and guitarist and vocalist in Break The Seal. But this is his own venture that completely differs from his collaborative work. It was interesting, and ultimately rewarding to hear another side of his multifaceted talent.
Brown has been working with Warren Records on the Lemonade EP, and has a follow-up EP, Post-Youth Depression due for release soon. I implore you to listen to Lemonade and realise the potential: here we have the beginnings of a sound with the sophistication to go far – listen to it, and if you like it, support Joe Brown and other DIY musicians who thrive on it. Do your bit.