Sound — 8
"Brand New World" brings a brand new sound to many listeners ears, as its not simply one singer and an acoustic guitar, its a reinvention of acoustic music, its a reinvention of folk, a reinvention of the somewhat stale singer-songwriter genre. That being said, it does have its drawbacks. As far as sound goes, there are two acoustic guitars and a violin, played by Noah's sister Abby. The violin sounds great. The production on the guitars, does not, unfortunately. It sounds one dimensional on several songs, and it seems to me it was DI'd into the board while recording. It sounds fine at first listen, but once you've listen to it a good couple times it becomes noticeable. Still, Noah and Michael Porter demonstrate fine guitar playing abilities, they often showing how much they can do by holding back on songs like "The Current State of Things." Lets be honest, with "singer-songwriter" genre you aren't going to hear a lot of rocking songs, but Noah and co do exactly that with "Moss on a Rolling Stone." Abby Gundersen also delivers with violin fill-ins and even a delicate solo in "The Current State of Things." Without a doubt Abby's playing is the perfect thing to compliment her brother's style.
Lyrics — 7
In his first EP, Noah gives a solid glimpse into his ingenious skill for righting massive lyrics and putting them into quiet songs that say a lot. "The Current State of Things" and "Winter" have got to be standouts of this very element. While the lead vocals do sound good, it is very clear in this first EP that Noah is young. He is young and has not quite found his voice yet, but is still a solid singer on the worst track. Abby, on the other hand puts in a perfect harmony with almost every tune, a perfect compliment to her brother yet again.
Overall Impression — 8
"Brand New World" is an extremely good, all be it quick, listen. There is a lot of heart, a lot of potential, and wisdom beyond his years in the lyrics written. The two most impressive tracks are "Moss on a Rolling Stone," and "The Current State of Things," two opposite ends of the spectrum that so perfectly show the skill and talent of Noah Gundersen. The major drawback to this record is the overly compressed guitar in many songs, however, the passionate lyrics that seem to speak to everyone on different levels more than make up for it. If it were stolen I would absolutely by it again.