Out on May 4th through Transgressive is ‘Braveface’ the hotly tipped debut from Esser, already proving himself to be a bit steady at the helm with a tasty selection of singles under his belt. I was looking forward to this album on the strength of said previous releases but I’ll confess to no small level of surprise at the diversity he brings to the table.
His sensibilities are without a doubt rooted in pop but Esser isn’t afraid to have a little wander around inside the boundaries. There’s the rock tinged opener of ‘Leaving Town’ and the kitchen sink lyricism of ‘Braveface’ which dare I say it has slight echoes of the late Ian Dury (man, I’m going to get slaughtered for that reference…but I’ll stand by it). ‘Headlock’ has already proven itself as one of the singles with a jittery ‘almost funk with a splash of dub’ sentiment.
Esser manages to inject the odd lament into his music as well with the lyrically downcast ‘Bones’, it might be melancholy but it works well in conjunction with the more lightly shaded material on offer. ‘Satisfied’ remains one of the high points with a skanking bar room piano and the thick set dub bassline, weaving its way through the song. Like so much of the material on offer its confident and self assured. For example ‘I Love You’ was pretty much a bedroom production yet it has enough sheen and sparkle to completely hide any of the potential shortcomings of its origins.
As debut’s go this is strong stuff, in an era of disposable pop commodities and faceless identikit offerings its nice to find someone who comes out swinging with an album that has been crafted rather than assembled. There’s real heart in these songs and it comes across in the execution
A definite recommend.