Hope Springs Eternal

The following review was written for thepaintedman.com a few years back when the album was pretty new. The album is still good and I’ll bet it’s new to many of youn, so check it out.

After three years away from the studio Brett Ryan Stewart delivers Tilt, an often uplifting, sometimes sad, but always honest album. It comes upon the loss of two close friends, and their death is clearly a theme throughout the album. Stewart’s sound is crunchy pop driven hard by his powerful vocals. Upon first listen, this album did almost nothing for me. The melodies and guitar riffs had an overdone aesthetical quality that was not calling my name for more.

As I gave the album more listens, I was converted. At first the lyrics drew me in for more. Stewart deals with mature themes of death and loss with a sense of hope.

“The whole wide world is burning down” is a line from “the Hunter” and emotionally closes the album with sadness and longing. Other tracks, such as “Godless” are a frustrated cry, a spiritual denial, and an existential search for meaning. The album is full of hurt but also filled with hope. Brett Ryan Stewart takes you on emotional journey through pain and loss, an existential crisis, but always hoping that dawn is on the horizon.

Despite my first impressions, there is more going on musically here than I had given credit. “Death Ain’t Sex” gives a gritty southern blues polish to the otherwise pop shine of the album. “Godless” rocks, and rocks hard, but eases you into the emotional closer “the Hunter”. In the end Tilt has something to offer to indie-rock fans who would enjoy a solid mix of southern rock and pop. Stewart’s solid vocals will draw you in, but his honest lyrics will keep you coming back for more.

Father Ben

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