‘Time On My Own’ from Broker Johnathan(February 07, 2013)
Relationship-inspired songs range from joyous to maudlin, angry to sympathetic ... the problem is the rest of the world often doesn’t give a damn. Whatever positive or negative emotions the songwriter pours into the songs, they simply fail to touch an audience. Then again, sometimes the songwriter explores feelings in a way that enables the listener to engage and empathise. It also helps if there’s an edge to the songs that lifts them above the howling of the pack. The songs of Broker Johnathan on ‘Time On My Own’ do just that.
Certainly these are personal messages pretty much gathered around reminiscences of loss, betrayal and separation, there’s also the odd flicker of hopeful longing and resigned acquiescence added to the mix. They’re also constructed around melodies that subtly support the lyrical content. Do not rely on false feelings of ‘these emotions are happening to someone else’ ... these songs ask something of the listener. Background music this is not. Majoring on laconic, soft ‘sung-spoken’ vocals with acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, harmonica and keyboard embellishments, there’s an acute simplicity that pulls you in to share the difficulties of these direct stories.
Listen to the brutal honesty of ‘Any Way You Came’ the communication collapse of ‘Paper and Pen’ and the bemused sincerity of ‘Barbara’ to hear exactly what you get with this album. Beyond those there’s the sharply reflective ‘Passing Through’ with its slightly more upbeat feel, jangly guitar and spoken narrative over the vocals, along with the stark revelations of ‘Absinthe’ working in a similar vein.
All except one of the tracks (‘Fly’) on ‘Time On My Own’ are lyrics, music and performance by Broker Jonathan with Kim Guy providing vocals on ‘Barbara’. You can find ‘Time On My Own’ atbrokerjonathan.bandcamp
Reviewer: Tim Carroll