Brett Newski Album Review – Land Air Sea Garage
“Not all who wander are lost” reads the tire cover on the jeep in front of me that’s as red as the light we’re stuck at. To me it seems a superfluous statement but to others it could be a revelation. Some people find discontentment and stagnation when they stay in the same place for too long, like every idle minute is a wasted minute. There is simply too much beyond the driveway to risk missing. I took this assignment after reading the brief description because it immediately felt relatable despite not hearing a single note.
I once felt like I had become a wanderer, a shark that had to keep moving to keep breathing, but I traded my worn out shoes and backpack for a house and a family. My travels are on hold for now until my baby boy is older but it’s still nice to hear music written by someone I feel a camaraderie with.
Land Air Sea Garage commences with “Garage”, a mid-tempo stomper that implements a tasteful trumpet and a hook so catchy it will still be with you the morning after. Nothing extraordinary happens musically, but Tom Petty never ripped insane solos either. “Get to the chorus before you bore us” was a line from Petty’s Netflix documentary that stuck with me. I think it’s a good philosophy and one that Newski seems to follow. “Garage” clocks in at under three minutes which means that there is very little fat on these tunes, and also speaks to his (probable) punk rock roots which he gives a cheeky nod to later on “DIY”.
Next comes the more laid-back but equally catchy “Stranger”. “The more you wait the more it’s gone” is sung hauntingly and keeps the song riding the fence between late 90’s college rock and something far more morose. I whistled along as I tried desperately to figure out of which song “Stranger” reminded me. “If You Ask” by Saturday Looks Good To Me was the answer and coincidentally is a record that I purchased from Ear Wax records in Madison, Wi from whence Newski hails.
Alternating between electrified rockers and acoustic recollections the album often feels like Newski’s journal, and who is to say it’s not. Time on the road, or time away from loved ones, or familiarity or comfort can be simultaneously exhilarating and debilitating. “Mind At Large” is poppy and fun but sounds clandestinely sinister. “Molly” is a beautiful, bummer of a song but well-written and confessional. The songs are all unified by a tone in Newski’s voice that even at it’s most upbeat still belies it’s true solemn nature.
Other standout tracks include the simple “ Things You Don’t Wanna Do”, “I Won’t Die A Nun”, and “Bending Spoons & Skipping Prayers”.
Hemingway once said that to write about life you must first live it and had Ernest been born post-60’s instead of driving ambulances in the Great War I think that he might have ended up more like Brett. Newski has played shows seemingly everywhere and anywhere (convenience stores, apartments, rooftops) for whomever took interest, meeting people, connecting with these people, hearing their stories and ingesting the experiences of life. He appears to be in his mid-twenties which means that he will only hone his craft in the years to come.
Every single song on Land Air Sea Garage is worth a listen and most of them will get stuck in your head for days. After bumming around Europe and Asia it only seems fitting that someone of Newski’s talent and proclivities should be touring nationwide opening for a band as awesome as the Violent Femmes. His travels thus-far have inspired a remarkable album and I look forward to what his future travels bring him, and us.
And, check out some other killer new music we’ve dug up for your enjoyment here: RARA’s Fresh Crops
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