Sunday, 9 June 2013

Alysha Brilla - In My Head - CD Review

Have a seat and strap yourself in because Alysha Brilla’s music career is about to take off like a rocket carrying a new crew to the International Space Centre.  The Tanzanian-Canadian artist’s second album, “In My Head” is set to be released on July 11th, 2013.  

Already much acclaimed,  as a musician/song-writer, Brilla (A.K.A. Alysha Brillinger) had a record deal with a major US label, but walked away due to creative differences.  Now an independant artist, Brilla wrote, performed and produced the album which follows a torrid relationship from beginning to end.

Here is a track by track look at the new album:

In My Head, the title track begins the story of the relationship with her crazy obsession with a partner. Musically, the track is mainly piano driven, with quirky circus-like sounds thrown in and some horns to add to the fun.  The song itself is an old friend from Alysha’s eponymous titled first album, “Brilla”.  The original one was acoustic and guitar driven.

Nobody finds a jubilant Brilla, who must have made a connection with that guy, because, she is on top of the world. Brilla gives a nod to her Tanzanian heritage by doing a verse in Swahili.   This song is highly percussive and charged with happiness.  My aunt heard this song and said, “I could have used this last week”.   I dare anyone to listen to it and not smile, or sit still.  You’ve got to dance!  I can actually picture the smile on Brilla’s face while she sings this.  Can’t wait to see her do it live!  

Sailor’s Wife was the first new song off the album that Brilla started to perform in late March.  In the song Alysha declares her commitment to the long distance relationship, “I’m gonna wait for you”.  The song has a Bob Marley-esque reggae vibe, with a bubbling bassline, which I love, and is flavoured with a trumpet(!) solo, brilliantly played by Marie Goudy.The music video for this song is nothing but fun to watch! Love it!

Suddenly, the relationship changes course, the “kisses aren’t as sweet, and the hugs aren’t as tight” in Ain’t Right.  The horns take the lead on this track, along with a bouncing bassline.  The song is bluesy and jazzy at the same time and I imagine it’s what I would hear in jazz club in New Orleans.

Why? Why!  Why would someone do this to you Alysha!!?  Why? Who hurt you so much?  “The truth came out that you cheated and you lied.”  This led Brilla to tears, and now she needs some serious drinks to numb the pain  with Two Shots.  Despite the sad lyrics, this track is surprisingly uptempo, and peppy.

The next five songs are representative of the five stages of grief:  denial (L.A. Hotel Room), anger (Never Gonna Get Me Back), bargaining (Sorry), depression (Mark on Me) and finally acceptance (Lifted).

The poignant, L.A. Hotel Room is one of my favourite tracks on the album.  Alysha’s guitar, vocals and emotions are front and centre.  The song is sweet and haunting, and I think it will be a sin if it doesn’t become a huge hit.

Another familiar friend, the uplifting (pun purely coincidental) Lifted is Brilla’s anthem, a floor-filling show closer, that embodies her mission of making music to make people feel good.  Just like the In My Head, this track is taken from the Brilla album and given the band treatment to great results.

Closing th album on a positive note, I Don’t Need the Stars, takes us back to a point between tracks one and two when the relationship is still new and fresh, it is a jazzy and sultry number, bass plucking, horns swooning, Alysha and background singers working the mics.  

Overall I found In My Head to be a great album.  I love Brilla’s voice, her songwriting and her spirit.  I can see this being a very successful album for her, so make sure to pick up your copy and check her out live when you get the opportunity, she always puts on an awesome show.  She’s certainly made a Brilliever out of me!  

For tour dates and more information check the links below.