Strings over acoustic guitar, in a waltzing time signature, Bernard Fanning’s opening track on ‘Brutal Dawn’ sets his recognisable vocal on a much more folky backdrop than I expected. A second familiar voice which i couldn’t quite place, on both the first few tracks, prompted me to check the liner notes where I discovered songstress Clare Bowditch, had added her assistance (who uses liner notes anymore? Thank you Bernard!). What a good start!
Recorded just south of the Gold Coast at Byron Bay, it struck me the songs could just as easily have been backgrounded by a heavier and fuller guitar sound replacing strings and keys and been later Powderfinger offerings. As a fan of Powderfinger’s music, I liked this about the album. Lyrically, there’s a lot of first person tense giving a somewhat personal perspective and playing into the folk sensibility. A few of the later tracks really channelled a country style.
Pretty raw and heartfelt, ‘Brutal Dawn’ is for dedicated fans of Fanning’s personal songwriting, and for fans of the country folk genre. If you’re heading on a solo road trip, or with someone you love a philosophical chat with, ‘Brutal Dawn’ is the perfect soundtrack.