nzoa july 2019

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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Jonathan Bree: A Little Night Music

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Jonathan Bree: A Little Night Music

In a former life, Jonathan Bree made bubblegum-esque music in The Brunettes, his catchy songs hinting at a love of ’60s vintage song structures. ‘A Little Night Music’ follows his 2013 debut solo album, ‘The Primrose Path’, and takes a darker turn, with strings, celeste and piano creating sinister cinematic sounds that combine melancholic melodies and orchestrated textures. These textures come from a new love of classical music, gained after Bree inherited Bartok and Tchaikovsky ballet records. The classical influence features heavily, referenced on the cover in a monochromatic image of Bree as the conductor. His lovely, crooning velvet vocals (which envelop the listener like a cloak) are key, sitting well with the orchestration. The slightly anxious, sentimental ballad Once It Was Nice is a prime example – waltz rhythm, music-box celeste and orchestrated strings providing a lush textural base for Bree’s soothing voice. Weird Hardcore and Tear Your Face Off again have dissonant strings, though punctuated with synthesisers, and the biting There Is Sadness adds guitar to contrast the cinematic orchestration. This album feels like it could collapse under the weight of its own darkness, but it doesn’t – Bree pulls back, puncturing the darkness with shards of beauty.