Released 01 February 2013
Layne Greene – Vocals, Guitars, Piano
Bryan MacDonald – Guitars
Lloyd White – Bass
Alex Lank – Drums
Art by juliegnome.tumblr.com
I got myself a copy of Break before its release. What can I say? It is an honor to be on the list of one of the compelling singer/songwriters of this generation. The musical vision of Layne Greene is this: to be able to make a living doing what he loves most: Music.
If you are into great looking album artwork then the cover of this EP will win you over. It shows what looks like a fox and crow locked in a playful mood. Now let us look closer beyond the beautiful exterior. This is a fourth release from Nova Scotia artist Layne Greene. The tracks are recorded after New Year and the gang cooped up in Layne’s home to capture the vibe and mood of the season.
The album begins with Break. I already heard the demo version of this track which has no drums or ‘undertow’ sound. This time, the drumming skill of Alex Lank blends with the gentle and breezy atmosphere rather than over power everything. The guitar solo of Bryan MacDonald is awesomely atmospheric.The bass of Lloyd White cocoon’s the instrumentation and vocals. Check out the lyrics:
Part of me, was left behind,
In those days, and into those nights.
A simple place to get away,
With grey walls, and empty frames.
Layne has always been a visionary. This voracious reader and Brandon Sanderson fan seems to have taken more credit as a musician rather than as a lyricist in the past. But now that I got a good read, I realized that he has a taste for the mysterious and the subtle. His songs are marked by melancholic moods. For instance, the second stanza goes this way:
“A great escape, a walk through the snow.
And we’ll all wait, cause soon you’ll know.
The freezing cold, won’t thaw your bones,
And reckless hearts can’t cast those stones.”
I move over to the second track. Different People is marked by a chill out steady mood. ” Desperate people in the snow” is the dominant phrase in this song. It is easy to get lost listening to this song and watching the view from the window. Inflation is probably my favorite track because of its arrangement and beautiful chord pattern. Bryan’s guitar playing creates a sense of being cocooned. I can imagine myself walking in an open windy field while this song plays. There is something cinematic about it. Like snippets of wonderful scenes taken from real life and have those scenes posted on a big screen. This track has a very jazzy feel brought about by the syncopated drumming and perky guitar solo.
Disposition further cements Layne’s mastery of the scales. This is a song that requires intermediate understanding of music composition. It is short but sweet. The EP ends with Working man. This song is about his late grandfather who was a builder of musical instruments. Again the syncopated beats create that down tempo rhythm which is really engaging. Check out the part around 4:00 when the drums become heavy and insistent.
Break is a departure from his usual musical style. One can sense the attention to detail given in each of the tracks and also in the mixing and mastering.