Album review: Lonely The Brave – What We Do To Feel

Lonely The Brave return with all the feels and increased confidence on epic fourth album…

Album review: Lonely The Brave – What We Do To Feel
Sam Coare

It’s been, somewhat remarkably, over five years now since Lonely The Brave and founding vocalist David Jakes shook hands on a decade-long relationship and went their separate ways. For any band, the departure of a longstanding vocalist is one of the most difficult to overcome; for Lonely The Brave, much of whose reputation and breakout success around 2014 album The Day’s War and 2016 follow-up Things Will Matter had been built on David’s earnest, skyscraper vocals and introspective, poetic lyricism, that job would be an assignment the envy of no-one.

In a bid to fill that the void arrived Jack ‘Grumble Bee’ Bennett and, one global pandemic later, 2021’s The Hope List album, a work which proved there was a rich future yet for the one-time hottest new name in British rock, if not a collection of songs that at times carried the uneasy getting-to-know-you awkward air of a first date. Two years on, What We Do To Feel arrives as proof positive that the pair make not only perfect bedfellows, but that they have shaken off the lingering shadow of that past relationship to carve out something truly unique to them.

Because while these 10 tracks are painted with a well-used palette – the Lonely The Brave hallmarks are present and correct in opener Long Way’s cresting chorus, and The Lens’ dancing melodies – they are imbued with new hues and textures. Colour Me Sad surfs on a body of synths. The Ramp serves as a post-rock-leaning deconstruction of LTB’s constituent parts. The fabric of Eventide’s second act is interwoven with luscious strings, as is closer The Bear, which builds from a solitary, mournful guitar into a full-blooded Sigur Ros-ian epic.

Jack's mahogany-rich tones, meanwhile, stitch the whole thing together with vigour and self-assurance, even when the album’s deeply introspective lyrics hint at a more complex undercurrent of emotions. 'I've got thoughts and ideas to keep us afloat,' he sings on the stirring Our Sketch Out. This is Lonely The Brave, warmly familiar yet freshly distinct – and for the sake of their second act, they’re all the better for it.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Manchester Orchestra, Feeder, The XCERTS

What We Do To Feel is released on November 10 via Easy Life

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