In what may seem the next logical step for the neo-country music wave comes in the form of internet sensation Kane Brown’s latest and self-titled debut album. A contemporary twist on traditionalist acoustic pepperings, trusting attitudes and a vocal masculinity rooted in the history halls of southern USA. This may sound appetising and formidable, though ultimately succeeds only in filling the tracklist slots for a relaxed, safe and conservative country music record.
Pictorial stories of homecoming sentimentality drift through the earliest sequences of the record with Hometown – sweeping along golden specialities that define his home state of Georgia. Likely sung efforts in nostalgia-based country music swell evenly amidst acoustic guitar connections and southern tinkerings. A likely representative of this nu-wave of country music sound discharges from tracks such as Learning – a life confession delivered through a small group of acoustically esteemed rap anecdotes. Brown’s voice can be chiselled down into a sculpted emotion – a settlement of pain, suffering and hardened grief. This collectively dispels throughout his vocal strains, allowing his music to speak volumes of truth. It’s these attributes that perhaps confuse with the naturalistic ingredients needed to convey significant sincerity. At times the album’s heavy doses of acoustic instrumentation sound played and bleak – reproducing rather than enunciating with singularity. Ain’t no Stopping Us Now shows a closer tie with a blend of cheap drum effects both tedious and superfluous. Similar moments are heard from the direction in Comeback, which better operates as a faltering brokenness failing to create a much-needed sense of uniqueness and change of pace. Perhaps working as the most singular catalyst for any chance of salvation is the punchy burst gathered from Better Place – a thumping instrumental projection stretched over Brown’s voiced southern buzz.
Though there are obvious precarious cracks in the record, it is a debut record and one unquestionably credited to Brown’s admirable honesty documentation. These tales of growth and homesickness aren’t, however, enough to justify the album’s high volume of melancholy acoustic bearings and comparable song arrangements.