Departing from the kitschy-cool chamber rock of his other band, Pale Young Gentlemen, Madison, Wisconsin-based Andrew Brawner has created a simmering album with understated messages and stunning craftsmanship. With emotive, Cat Power-like composition and poised, crooning vocals, Brawner’s Time Since Western combines diverse elements that can be sweet, poignant, and always unexpected.
Trip-hop drums in “Northern Down” and the orchestration a la Grizzly Bear in “Perspective” are just two examples of genre-spanning in A Sun Goes Down. Seemingly disjointed pieces manage to come together beautifully in many of Brawner’s tracks, and the deceptively quiet, muted vocal stylings hide sparkling lyrics. Both of these traits are perhaps most noticeable on “CST.” “Apple”, a gem of an acoustic ballad, hints at A Sun Goes Down as one of the strongest self-released, local albums to come out in the recent past. This is a concise, simple album, with each track flowing into the next with ease and this cohesiveness is one of the high points of A Sun Goes Down. The uptempo “Feathers” features the best lyrical work on the entire record.
Brawner’s stylistic choices are conscious and careful, perhaps best exhibited on the album’s closing track “Inside Out” – a song that somehow fits in with the rest despite its obvious dissimilarities. Madison is, in fact, becoming more and more prevalent as a city for music, and based on Brawner’s work, deservedly so. Pick up a copy of A Sun Goes Down – Brawner’s album has something special.