Lonely the Brave at O2 Academy, Birmingham

To say that Lonely the Brave are already working up a name for themselves would probably be the understatement of the year – since exceeding expectations with their debut album, The Day’s War last June (which received tremendous critical acclaim, mainly because it was a mind blowing achievement), the Cambridge five piece have gone from strength to strength, including a co-headline tour with Marmozets, supporting Deaf Havana and completing their own headline tour through March.

Their latest achievement comes in the form of securing the opening slot for Scottish rock band Twin Atlantic on the final run supporting their 2014 album The Great Divide, along with main support Eliza and the Bear – anyone who’s had the pleasure of seeing this selection live can vouch for me when I say they’re three of the most engaging live pop-rock band performances in the loop at the moment, and with each building on the last’s set, Lonely the Brave set the atmosphere for an incredible evening.

Lonely the Brave’s set is renowned in the field for their slightly unusual set up, with introspective vocalist David Jakes stepping to the side to allow guitarist Mark Trotter to take on the frontman duties of encouraging the crowd and ensuring a good time.

Though it’s a technique that seems to go against the grain of modern rock bands, it’s one that aptly suits the genre of “doom pop” they associate themselves with – listen beyond the hope-tinged soaring choruses of the band’s anthemic singles and you’ve find brutally honest and reflective verses that show insight to Jakes on a personal level, not necessarily the sort of thing gang vocals are designed for.

As well as phenomenal lyricism laying in favour of this style, there’s also the clarity gained from a stationary vocalist; you take away the breathless running around and dancing and you get vocals a lot closer the studio quality being belted out and fuelled on nothing more than passion, at a standard few in the field can compete with.

They don’t lose the motion though, and if anything the attention to the instrumental is increased, with intricate guitar detail supporting punchy, well structured percussion and the rest of the band embodying enough energy to run the country. Though there was easily scope for embellishing the music with a guitar solo or empowering drum action, it somehow would have felt like they’d be pulling from the gravitational power that makes their set so tight and polished.

Lonely the Brave are shaping themselves up for a show stopping career, and are by far one of the best on the scene; The Day’s War proved itself as a powerful landmark for the quintet, but they’re one of those bands you have to experience live to understand their full potential, and how capable they are of releasing it. There’s an undeniable magic to their performance that’s not easy to peg down, and I can only urge you to check out their show to feel a part of it.

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