Ian Britt – BOX
Ian Britt, a singer/songwriter from the UK with soothing vocals and a good ear for melody. A friend of mine recently mentioned he is about to release a new album and I kept scratching the back of my mind to remember where I heard his name before. A month later I realized I’d actually seen this guy open for Milow awhile back. So that was one mystery solved.
I went back and looked at my recap of that show, and while I didn’t write too much about his support, it seemed like I categorized it as pleasant and promising but not quite there yet. In the past few weeks I went back to Britt’s previous work. His debut full-length “One Day I” has a few interesting songs on it, and songs like Conquer The World and Life Ain’t Made showed real promise, but as a whole, the album was fine, not superbly memorable. The EPs Britt released in the following years (“Big Light” & “What Ilk?”) were definitely more solid as a whole, and songs like The Shape of Us…, Instincts… and Lost & Won were actually quite convincing. So I was very curious for “BOX”, hoping the progression and consistency are still continuing.
And right from the start, “BOX” has a convincing, complete sound that balances between a more traditional singer/songwriter approach and a more upbeat radio pop/rock feel. On his previous albums Britt already showed he puts effort in his songwriting. A well written song is the basis of his work, and that hasn’t changed. He’s just become a lot more consistent and with a couple years of experience under his belt he’s become a stronger musician.
Lead off track Back Home is infectious, acoustic rock that lends itself excellently for foot tapping and humming along. And the album features a few more of these songs (Walk Alone, Boom Boom) but while these songs are quite good and a lot of fun, Britt’s real strength lies in the passionately performed singer/songwriter songs like Me & My Friend Cupid, Run Lola Run, Crazy Jane and the beautiful Pretty Little Flowers. The beautiful arrangements and personal delivery of these songs create a more direct connection between artist and listener, which is exactly why Ian Britt nailed it on this new release of his. More than before he is playing to his strengths and his beautiful, honest, direct lyrics and melodies are coming across perfectly because of it.
I am not entirely certain who Britt would list as his main influences musically but listening to BOX I would say there is some Paul Simon, Nick Drake, Steve Miller and a touch of James Taylor in there. Maybe it’s just me making these connections, but I think it gives you somewhat of an idea in what spectrum of the genre one could place Ian Britt. There is a new generation of singer/songwriters (Ben Howard, Joey Ryan, Alli Rogers, Milow, Josh Ritter, etc.) that writes pop songs with the same sincerety and connectivity as those artists did. And I would most definitely list Britt in that same category.
“BOX” is a strong effort, and where Britt was making progress on his previous EPs, he did not just take another step forward on this album, no, I would say he actually leapt forward, because “BOX” is a an album filled with beautiful songs that fit together well and yet have enough variety to keep your attention throughout the whole album. It doesn’t become too much of the same and there are new things to discover after several listens. I said it before, but 2010 is a good year for the singer/songwriters, and Ian Britt’s “BOX” is another confirmation of that.