The Last Mixed Tape reviews Pull The Right Rope, the debut studio album from songwriter Junior Brother.
There’s infectious freedom to the music of Junior Brother, it’s wild untamed nature is carefree of expectation or pretense resulting in the unbridled creativity at the heart of his debut. An idiosyncratic album, Junior Brother’s Pull The Right Rope may be the most self-expressionistic record of 2019.
From the jolting vocal of ‘Coping’, there’s an underlined gentleness to Junior Brother lyricism that moves with the undulating performance as it cuts and soars in equal measure. Throughout Pull The Right Rope the lyrical twists and turns that entangle themselves around each song push and pull the record. In songs such as the heartwrenching ‘The Back Of Her’ and the reflective ‘I Told You I Would Leave’ the bare-boned honesty of the songwriting is left out for all to see making the record real and unapologetically raw.
The music follows this emotionally led verve too. In the nine-minute epic ‘Purple Circle’, the ramshackle rhythms, interwoven strings, and loose guitar lines contort around one another dynamically as they follow the vocal’s searching melody through moments of repose and flourishes of angst. These symbiotic relationships tie Pull The Right Rope together, ensuring the record uses the full scope that its intimate production allows.
All of this culminates in Junior Brother and indeed Pull The Right Rope’s crowning moment, the utterly breath-taking ‘Full of Wine’. Capturing the singular voice and feel of both the artist and the album, this midway highpoint in the record takes the listener by the hand and leads its further in the music. Indeed, this is the moment where you are either on board with Pull The Right Rope or your not.
An album of pure expression, Pull The Right Rope is a masterclass in the sheer joy of creation. Junior Brother’s debut may divide tastes but that seems to be the point, the character of the songwriter is intrinsically linked to the album itself. In this way, Pull The Right Rope is a shining example of how long-standing genres like trad and folk can be given new life. A true musical self-portrait.
Pull The Right Rope by Junior Brother is out now.