Bryde’s debut album Like An Island is an odd mix of heartfelt artistic exposure and moving empowerment.
The singer-songwriter simultaneously manages to exude a sense of vulnerability whilst also showcasing a more hard-edged element to her music.
Originally from Pembrokeshire and now calling London her home, she’s sort of like a musically respectable mix between Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain. Other influences can be pinned to PJ Harvey, Warpaint and Cat Power, although she has managed to craft her own style of driving and earnest music irrespective of these connections.
‘To Be Brave’ and ‘Less’, the first two songs on the album, reflect her pivotal style between a hard-edged outer surface and a passionate inner self, with both aggressive elements and enthusiastically ardent lyrics. This leads into ‘Flesh, Blood & Love’ a darkly entitled song that is echoed with dark words before flowing into pre-released single ‘Peace’. A powerful song that washes over you, but with contradictory breakdowns that could possibly be found in an XX album.
Equally driving songs are seen in ‘Fast Awake’ and ‘To Be Loved’, both with propulsive drum beats and breathless vocals. These two songs are perhaps the most encompassing of the album, generally reflecting the overarching album sound. This is at odds with both ‘Transparent’ and ‘Desire’, songs that are uncharacteristically downbeat, that seem to ebb and flow movingly and with a sense of unravelling. This is indicative of Bryde’s ability to juxtapose contradictory themes within the same body of work. The album ends on ‘Steady Heart’, perhaps the weakest song on the album, a track that may as well be a Mazzy Star song.
The album is to be released on Bryde’s independent label Seahorse Music, originally founded to publish records bya like-minded woman. This is something that is highly pertinent and important to carry out within a male-dominated industry and highlights a sense of female empowerment that is reflected in and inherent to Like An Island. The album was mixed by Catherine Marks, who’s worked with equally empowering acts such as PJ Harvey, Wolf Alice and St Vincent. Like An Island is a sentimental collection of songs that breeds feelings of contentment and completion. I’m sure it will prove to be a pivotal release for Bryde’s career and is a key stepping stone to further success.