A spell of fleeting string melodies. Gilt vocals that intertwine with contiguous instrumental harmonies. A rhythm that strikes just hard enough to make our hearts bolt right out of our chests yet falls short of tiring us out ahead of the next song.
This is Brooke Josephson’s Live & Let Live, and to say that it is all about spiking traditional pop blueprints with a soulful groove or two just wouldn’t be doing its one-of-a-kind beats justice this November. Led by a vocal that undeniably wowed us in 2022’s Showin’ Up, this singer/songwriter sweeps us through six frills-free pop treats that cross genre boundaries as often as they intoxicate their audience with vivid textures of the most provocative nature. “All We Never Had” gets us onto an emotional rollercoaster that seems to settle whenever the easy rule of “No for an Answer” overtakes the speakers.
“Eye in the Sky” beseeches for the listener to take in the lyricism of a more refined voice we find in the middle of “Live & Let Live,” “Good Kinda Tired,” and the enchanting “Burning Journals.” There’s an emotional and aesthetical multidimensionality to seemingly every verse on this EP, and that can’t be said about most of the records dominating the charts this late autumn season.
Josephson isn’t using lyrics alone to express herself in these songs; in fact, I would say that her words aren’t even the most communicative element in a track like “No for an Answer.” There are a lot of haunting details for us to take in on this extended play, starting with the relationship between the bassline and the other melodic instruments in “Good Kinda Tired.” With as much of an intriguing effect as it creates on the presence of the beat, you would think that the vocal would need a little extra volume to stick out in the grander scheme of things here, but nothing could be further from reality in this instance.
By keeping things on a sonic equipoise, she’s more than capable of steering clear of making the same sort of overindulgent blunder her closest rivals in the American underground have been turning out in droves these last couple of years.
If what I’m hearing in Live & Let Live is giving me any sort of an indication as to what we can expect to hear out of Brooke Josephson in the next half-decade or so, I think she is going to be in for quite a bit of success to say the least.
There aren’t a lot of players that have as much going for her sound as this singer/songwriter does at the moment; there’s enough of a familiar indie pop pulse to please the college radio fans, a rich harmony inside of every song reminiscent of Americana, and even a distant folk-rock energy to the construction of the material that induces chills more typical of coffee house serenades. It’ll be interesting to hear what Josephson can come up with next, and I doubt I’m the only critic looking forward to her next LP.