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Toft, Jon Brændsgaard: Brick by Brick

Brick by Brick is the first studio album in more than a decade form Danish drummer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Brændsgaard Toft, an unplanned album that met the light of day as the result of an all-musicians retreat to which Jon was invited by his Icelandic guitarist friend Gunnar Gunnarson, co-writer of the title track and responsible of a few acoustic and electric guitars here and there.

The album opens as corky and melodic as possible, with a playful “Mr. Johnson” that basically describes the life and daily adventures of a cat, a hunter down to the core, but that also likes to sleep a lot… a song that sets tone for the rest of the album. The title track “Brick by Brick” is my favorite here, I find both melodies and vocal harmonies very catchy, and find myself humming to it every time I play the album. There’s no complexity at all on Jon’s output, he puts all his efforts in making the songs very commercial sounding and easy to relate to, “The World is my Playground”, “My Mind Playing Tricks”, and “Insomnia” are perfect examples of that melodic simplicity.

We can find some cool acoustic-laden songs as well as organic sounding ballads. “Among Vikings” is a beautiful folky tune, with a simple but deep narrative that resembles both in structure and tonality to the work of legacy artists such as Cat Stevens and Paul Simon, a song I enjoyed quite a bit. Some other evident influences that contribute to the folk-rock face of the music are the Crosby, Still & Nash vocal work, as well as the Dave Matthews Band odd and somehow hypnotic melodic template. “The New Blip”, “Worth a Try”, “Somebody Else’s Bed”, and the closer “The Ballad of Tír na N�"g” are a set of dreamy pop ballads that keep the story-telling format in a more relaxed way and maintaining the importance of the vocal harmonies. Finally, we find the trippier batch of songs that add some different spices and condiments to the album, rounding-up the sound and pulling the listener out of the squareness for a bit… “Part of Something New” and “The Explorers” are different than the rest, they remind me of early Bowie material.

I enjoyed listening to this record, it has multiple aspects that appeal to me, and I was able to pinpoint some influences on Jon’s music that I also like and relate to, but what I also found was weak percussion and drumming, perhaps too simplistic and common, something that done and performed differently could have provided an extra layer of goodness to the album… or maybe that’s just me and my rough expectations knowing he is a drummer… cheers!

Track list:
1. Mr. Johnson (3:58)
2. Brick by Brick (4:12)
3. The World is my Playground (4:42)
4. Among Vikings (3:53)
5. Part of Something New (4:04)
6. My Mind Playing Tricks (3:20)
7. The New Blip (4:44)
8. Worth a Try (3:28)
9. The Explorers (3:45)
10. Somebody Else’s Bed (4:00)
11. Insomnia (4:10)
12. The Ballad of Tír na N�"g (3:33)

Added: June 6th 2023
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 546
Language: english

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