Finding his way into the listener’s heart, singer/songwriter Brendan Staunton combines the zeal of the 70s rock sound with a modern twist in the new nine-track album Last of the Light. Shining the pathway in each song is Staunton’s top notch songwriting and smooth vocals. Throw in a few arrangements with unique textures and you have yourself a masterful work of listening art.
Staunton, who is Irish, sings with the echoes of centuries old storytelling skills. He’s the epitome of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. His Bob Dylan-esqe stylings are in the full spotlight in tracks like “We Don’t Talk About It”, “Mean To You” and “A Moment”. What gives the listener an added comfort is knowing that this album was 30 years in the making – the measures Staunton has taken are felt in every note and sound of the acoustic guitar neck breaking.
“We Don’t Talk About It” starts out the record and sets the tone with its soft rock, and evocative lyrics. “We don’t even talk about the things that keep us wide awake…why don’t we talk about it,” Staunton sings. As his relationship sings to be hanging by a thread, or a vision of two separate individuals blocking each other out, a summer breeze of a guitar gently coos the listener.
“Don’t you worry about me,” Staunton sings in the Earthy- track “River”. He continues “I was exiled in the end with a whole new language, with a set of false friends.” I might surmise this tale is so often the same sentiment with an immigrant. You’re drowning in an ocean of newness, a constant wave of uncertainty. Self-reliance and yet, this unbreakable need to connect and rely on your fellow man. Staunton’s song is a moving tribute, and yet again a 70s soft rock tone exception.
He continues to cultivate an aura of philosophy and wonderous musical arrangements (piano, guitar and subdued percussion) in the remaining Last of the Light tracks. As a listener it’s easy to find deeper meaning, an instant rapport within Staunton’s voice. At times he’s literal and at other times, like in “Underwater” his symbolism constructs a myriad of interpretations. “Nothing left to try over land, underwater, take my hand, now the tide is high,” Staunton sings. His soothing voice is stunning along the song’s acoustic guitar arrangement.
In one of the finer moments of Last of the Light, Staunton sings out the listener with a peculiar synth mix in the last track “A Girl”. So fresh and almost hushed, the song starts out with drum cymbals chiming together. “Go where it leads you, walk through that open door, the stakes are high,” he sings. A bit of a bubbling of electronica and Staunton seems to hold the notes for eternity in the line “does it always have to be this way.” This line pierces the heart and soul. He sounds forlorn, yet an abrupt hope stings in his delivery. This song still delivers joy. Staunton’s artistry is timeless in Last of the Light.