“Crashland” from Pennan Brae
Lyric videos as a standard don’t consist of much other than the verses and perhaps a strobe-laden colorful backdrop, but this is hardly the case with the new cut of “Crashland” from indie singer/songwriter Pennan Brae. Unleashing a collage of imagery that falls more in line with what a traditional music video would look and feel like, only framed with the lyricism serving as the centerpiece as opposed to the clatter of the instrumentation. It makes for a thoroughly stimulating experience for the viewer, which is more than can usually be said for this type of a release.
Beyond the visual aesthetics of the video, the anxious riffing that follows the vocal everywhere it travels in this song make the soundtrack as bold as any of the shots on screen are. There are a couple of instances in which the pacing of the beat feels a little ahead of the other instruments, but the discord seems deliberate and completely responsible for ramping up the chill factor as we get into the climax. Brae wants us on the edge of our seats from beginning to end here, and that’s obvious whether we’re listening to “Crashland” by itself or watching the music video made in support of its release.
The vocal is almost unbearably fragile beside the guitar parts as the track revs towards its conclusion, but much like the chaotic atmosphere provoked by the rhythm, this too feels like it was intentionally structured as to get us feeling the heat. In maximizing the tension around every twist and turn in this single, Brae makes it awfully difficult to walk away from the music feeling anything but flustered by the instrumentation and dizzied by the lyrical execution, both of which are a more physical reaction than most any I’ve had from mainstream pop/rock lately.
“Crashland” is, simply put, an amazingly rambunctious and rather hypnotic listen for alternative aficionados that seems almost tailor-made for college radio in 2020. Pennan Brae might be an underground phenom at the moment, but here, he’s showing off elements of a brilliance that could easily translate to some FM hits if channeled in the right direction. Right now, I would change anything about his present day approach to songwriting, and something tells me that once other audiences and critics have a chance to sit down with this single and its video for themselves, I won’t be the only person with these sentiments.