Small Victories

Album review: Ross Brown - Small Victories

It would seem that Golden Sound Records has done it again with the release of Ross Brown’s sophomore album Small Victories. And by “it” … I honestly couldn’t define what that would be. A wonderful X factor that every release on the label embodies; full of catchy indie hooks and masterful production.
Taking quite the turn from his first album The Human Condition, Brown delves himself in an array of stylistic experiments. While The Human Condition emitted a consistent stream of indie riffs and beats, Small Victories changes styles with each track. From poppy synth sounds to music straight from the 1960s, Brown truly elicits his talents on this album.
The album kicks off with the track “Dishes,” an erratic show of one’s own bravado. “I stand above everybody else, and I am glorious” sort of thing. Listening to the instrumentals, it is hard to imagine that only one man put this piece together. Synthesizers, guitars, and miscellaneous percussion push the upbeat song along. The next few songs seem to have a certain someone in mind; songs about memories and human interaction. The liner notes state, “None of these songs are about you.” I guess we will just have to believe that.
“Laodicea” takes a somber tone as a song reveling in self-pity. Brown appears to pick out procrastination and a lack of skill sets as a personal downfall, exploring that part of him in the song. The sixth track, a personal favorite from the album, is a high-energy, synth-driven story of a song. You are almost forced to imagine the story unfolding in your head as Brown attempts to get to know a girl. Taking on the role of a fumbling, blabbering fool, Brown spews out lines like, “Did you ever eat paper as a kid?”, and “In a food crisis who among your friends would you eat first?” The tale of a poor kid trying to relate to a beautiful woman—an experience most men could identify with.
Another thematic shift brings us to “Self Interest,” which discusses several cases of self-centeredness. The classic rock and roll diddy of this song urges the listener to wiggle a little. Tapping your feet to the beat, the song is very catchy. The hooks readily implant themselves in your brain and it’s nearly impossible to walk away from this track without humming it in your head.

Being the frontman for Fullbloods, drummer of The Empty Spaces, and an operator of Golden Sound Records, Brown has his hands full. But despite all of that, he is able to put together Small Victories, a brilliant conglomeration of melancholy jams and upbeat anthems that is sure to win you over … pun intended.  

You can listen to some tracks from Small Victories by clicking on the album below.

--Steven Ervay

Steven is the intern of Midwest Music Foundation and The Deli - Kansas City. He can't go to 21+ shows yet and that bums him out.  

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