Sound — 10
For a magnificent composer and musician with three studio albums under her belt it is unfortunate that Ane Brun needs an introduction. She is a Norwegian born songwriter who, with her acoustic guitar and tremulous voice can induce the most poignant emotions in the listener. She releases her albums on her very own record label, Balloon Ranger Recordings, and there is strong conviction throughout this review that her music deserves far wider recognition than it currently receives. And because there is so much to say about the album, it would be best to skip the facts on the artist herself and focus on her music. "Changing Of The Seasons" is an album with a deep, rich sound: thirteen beautiful tracks and a total play time of 45 minutes (not including the two bonus tracks). Most of the songs are driven with finger-picked acoustic guitar in various tunings, orchestrated and accompanied with an abundance of other instruments that never seem out of place. And this is one aspect that increases its overall re-playability; there is something new to be picked up on every listen. A few of the other songs lead with the piano. The instrumentals are now simple and now complex and never seem to miss their queue. "The Fall" for example, which is the second track on the album, features various percussion instruments, piano, violin, cello, and the guitar. The title track on the other hand strips down to just the acoustic guitar brooding over a faint melancholy glow of a keyboard instrument. For an overall calm album, it must be noted that tracks like "Ten Seconds" provide for a refreshing and upbeat change. Ane's vocals stand out on every song. The precision of her voice is astounding. At times her voice soars and hits very high notes, at times it is stable and calm, but her trademark is her tremulous, shaky voice that is always emotionally stirring and it never fails to seem natural. Another notable feature is the backing vocals, which most songs feature plenty of, and they greatly enhance the experience of listening to this album. There is quite a bit of variety in the vocals, but it can be said that Ane has found her niche and explores the boundaries within that in her own unique way.
Lyrics — 9
Prominent lyrical topics include relationships and love. These topics may be a recipe for a dish that is often served with too much "cheese" but the insightful and sincere way in which Ane expresses herself is a side to her music which must be praised. Other topics are explored as well, but those are more abstract and open to interpretation, hence they cannot be discussed here. The lyrics are often short, concise and poetic and have been perfectly executed in terms of their structure and layout in the songs. The honest nature of some of her lyrics may not appeal to everyone but they certainly fit the atmospheres of her songs which may be grave and serious, or melancholy, or even joyful.
Overall Impression — 9
I would highly recommend that you give "Changing Of The Seasons" a chance, but note that it can initially be a wearisome album to explore - but not in a boring way. It certainly needs to grow on the listener, but we all know that those albums that grow onto you become that much more precious in the long run. For those who may consider giving Ane Brun a listen, I would say that the hook of the album is track eleven, "Gillian", which makes a great first impression. It seems that this album is the kind that any type of audience can appreciate because it so well crafted. The points that I have taken off are in an attempt to account for the idea that different people perceive music in different ways. Whatever imperfections this album may have, however, can easily be overlooked. All in all, it would be a shame if this gem of an album didn't reach wider audiences because both Ane's music and music lovers deserve each other.