I’ve been a fan of Oli Brown for a good few years, from his early Blues days, through the later ‘Blues as pop star’ phase and on into his heavy rock years in RavenEye. This new incarnation with Oli Brown & The Dead Collective seems to be a maturing of one of the really fine British guitar talents of the recent years.
This EP comes across as an outpouring of emotion, an explosion of angst but coupled with some of the best rock music I’ve heard in ages. And MUSIC really is to the fore. It is very a vision of an artist using his music to explore/resolve his emotional issues but this is no shoe-gazer or brain-wank.
“When I started writing my next collection of songs, I had no idea what would come.” Oli candidly opens up, “My subconscious was about to make me more aware of what was happening in my mental health than my consciousness. I realised these songs would quickly take on a more significant meaning to my life. After a series of traumatic experiences, which led to extensive therapy, I put the fragmented pieces into these new song lyrics. As I began to rebuild my foundations, for the first time as a singer, I could utilise the synergy between my heart and my voice, connecting the performance, expression, and vulnerability of the lyrics with brutal honesty. This is no longer about performing for the sake of performing; it’s a release of everything bottled in for too long, transformed into a monumental delivery.”
I found it really good to listen to, even as the young man is pouring his heart out. There is a huge scale to the production (it was co-produced as well as co-written between Oli & Wayne Proctor) - even on the opener ‘Your Love’ where it opens with simply picked guitar leading into a heartfelt vocal (who knew he had such a fine voice?), you can feel the space around the song and then when the band follows in it simply fills the space.
The band consists of Oli Brown on vocals and guitar, Wayne Proctor on drums, Steve Amadeo and Alex Phillips on bass. Andrew Banfield plays piano & percussion. Sam Wood plays all guitars on ‘Sinking Ship’ alongside Jo Quail on backing vocals.
Oli Brown is clearly a huge talent, capable of writing and playing music across the rock spectrum and he is resolving his issues in a positive way, by making some superb music.