Album Review: Ruarri Joseph – Brother

Having been raised between Scotland and New Zealand as a child, Ruarri Joseph developed a distinctive voice, inflected with subtle accents that stand out above the crowds. With his charming vocals he made his way to the distant lights of London.

Brother is an album that is deeply complex and incredibly simple at the same time. The mellow acoustics of his guitar soothe and uplift you while the gentle tinkling of piano keys jostle alongside the soaring sound of violin strings and spirited drumbeats. While Joseph is playing his instruments it’s also his beautiful lyrics that play upon your heartstrings like a harp. One of the wonderful aspects of this album is that whether they’re poignant songs like Brother or refreshing tunes such as Until the Luck Runs Dry, each of his songs is gracefully reflective of the strength of bonds between family and friends. It’s an album that is clearly close to Joseph’s heart.

With the depth of his subject matter it would be all too easy for Brother to fall into the ready trap of overdosing the listeners with a saccharine, cloying sense of sentimentality. However, Joseph deftly avoids this; making his songs cheerful and upbeat, far more about the strengths of bonds than their weaknesses. Each song is filled with a sense of wonder and whimsy and far from suffocating the audience, the album is filled with a wide range of music that is both touching and encapsulating.

The content and music aside from Joseph’s work we are left with the true shining light of this album, which is his incredible, boundless voice. Crisp and clear, it is instilled with a smooth set of inflections that darting around the world can bring. His vocals are unique and wholesome, with that soft, familial feeling as if you’ve heard him singing somewhere before in some distant, warming memory. His friendly charm lends his music depth to no end, drawing the listeners deeper and deeper into his songs.

Ruarri Joseph has life experience under his belt and family is keenly close to his heart. It can be heard not just in his lyrics but his voice and this album, the first to be released through Warner, is an album 30 years in the making. It’s a stunningly uplifting album filled with warmth and affection.

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Review by Joe Knipe



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