Angie and the Deserters – Stay
The newest single from Southern California based Angie and the Deserters is entitled “Stay” and this gentle cut from the unit’s EP You shows off the other side of Angie Bruyere’s talents. You has some moments burning with real rock and roll attitude, but there’s also other moments when Bruyere and her band explore far more delicate areas musically. “Stay” covers familiar subject matter, but the band’s songwriting delves into these familiar waters with a singleness of purpose that plays as quite individual in a musical area where aping the past is too often a fallback for lacking genuine creativity. Bruyere has traveled a long way from her upstate New York upbringing and brings considerable chops to bear on this performance – her talents as a singer are unquestionable. Music this good is informed with the experiences of a lifetime and Bruyere manifests those experiences in every line. “Stay” is one of You’s best tracks and has directness and deceptive sophistication at every turn.
Bruyere’s vocal is the primary force guiding “Stay” to a successful resolution. She follows the exquisitely arranged instrumentation with great feel and never grows self-indulgent with the lyric. There’s both great finesse and emotion in her voice as the lyric unwinds, but she has a perfect sense of balance between these competing elements of her presentation and knows when to stop back and let the music take over. The vocal melody is every bit as strong as anything the instruments do here. The song has a relatively short duration, running just over three minutes, but Angie’s vocal commitment makes this sound like the most important three minutes and change of her life. This sort of put it all on the line vocal approach is unusual in this era, but Bruyere consistently reminds listeners that she’s a glorious throwback of sorts when singers, regardless of genre, paid in blood for every line.
The words communicate the subject matter succinctly and with lean artfulness. “Stay” has a plain-spoken, conversational quality that Bruyere takes full advantage of and connects easily with others experiences. This universality contained in the lyric makes a great difference in the song’s final effect – this is material everyone can relate to without reaching far for the connection. The arrangement makes everything work all the better and is melodically led by the trio of acoustic guitar, mandolin, and violin. The violin, in particular, weaves waves of magic in the mix and certainly matches Bruyere’s vocal one emotional note at a time. The lyrical quality it achieves is a big part of this. Much like the lyric, the musical arrangement for “Stay” doesn’t waste the listener’s time or attention with sideshows. Everything, instead, serves a clear purpose from the outset. Angie Bruyere and her band write and record songs with purpose. There’s no social consciousness here, no respect for the hallowed rules of the musical road; instead, there’s just a passion for self-expression that shines through. This passion burns very brightly on “Stay” and makes it an essential listen.