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Defying Gravity

Braam

Braam - Gravity and the Right To Fly
3 1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: June 17, 2003


Review by Tony Bonyata

With jangling guitars, sun-drenched melodies and enduring vocals, comes the debut studio album Gravity and the Right To Fly from the triad of brothers simply known as Braam. While the thought of a concept album may seem like a heavy-handed feat to pull off these days, Braam - consisting of Tom Braam (vocals), Mike Braam (bass / harmonies), Scott Braam (guitars) and Peter Drefs (drums) - somehow successfully pull it off.
Maybe one of the reasons that this tale of a disintegrated relationship giving way to new hope and love works so well is explained in the album's liner notes, which describes it as "a story with guitars." While the story itself is intriguing enough, it's the guitars, in fact, - that soar, swell and splash bright dapplings of light in even the most hopeless of situations - that makes this tale so enduring.
The guitars aren't the only treat here, however, as Tom's vocals range from a contemplative Velvet Underground-era Lou Reed (on the opening "Casual Stance") to Michael Stipe ("James I: Union Station") and even Pete Townshend (on the folkier "Questions"). And the sweet harmonies that kiss these well-constructed compositions - songs that conjure up not only the best of the early 70s singer / songwriters, but modern-day alt-country troubadour Ryan Adams as well - only add to mix.
Recorded in their own Oak Park, IL home studio, the results are anything but a homegrown effort. With a rich production, straight-forward, honest delivery and songs that range from flexed-folk ("Let It Snow"), alt-country ("Factory Flowers" and "Meadow"), stream-of-consciousness urban jazz ("Smokey Blues, Jazz & Meadow") and soaring rock ("Gravity & the Right To Fly"), Braam's first full-length studio effort leaves its listeners with the longing for more. Here's hoping that they'll be able to defy gravity once again soon.

Braam's Gravity and the Right Fly CD can be purchased for $12.00 (including shipping and handling) from: Braam, PO Box 3777, Oak Park, IL 60303

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