Shannon LaBrie “War & Peace”
War & Peace is the sophomore album from Shannon LaBrie, who hails from Nashville. It apparently marks a definitive step on from her debut album and deals with the emotional pains of a recent loss. Although, if we are honest, the first thing that really brought it to our attention was a reference to the brilliant Jenny Lewis.
That’s certainly true of opener “It’s Political”, which could very easily have featured on Lewis’s recent ‘Voyager’ album. It has the same bitter sweet feel, with the hazy vocals and upbeat melody. There’s a similar feel on “Took My Whole Life and “Heaven Crashed Down”. Like many of the songs on this album, there is a lazy, sunny day feel to the tracks. Although, often, that bright sound is in contrast to the darker lyrical tone.
There is a more soulful feel to “For You”, with its organ based intro. Songs like this and “Crumble” suggest that Shannon may have more of a soul pop background than indie/rock. You can certainly see these songs having a wider and potentially more commercial appeal. She even moves in to a new country feel on the appropriately titled “American Dream”.
There is also a lot of depth to the album, something that hits home with the powerful and moving lyrics of “Alcohol”. It’s an emotive song that certainly makes you stop and listen. Even when the beat picks up on the title track, “War & Peace”, there remains an under current of melancholy.
It’s not until we get to “Aint Just a Feeling” that we start to feel a sunnier sound again. The one thing that is constant on all the songs is the quality of Shannon’s voice. There’s a pureness to it which is quite striking.
Sometimes an album is built for a certain mood or maybe a particular time. This is not a ‘getting ready to go out and party on a Friday night’ soundtrack. Instead, it is more of a Sunday Morning or late at night reflective album. It’s one for when you want to be soothed and comforted, a time when you need to be gently warmed by a blanket, the sun or maybe a hug.