Allman Brown releases his latest album this month which comprises two halves, and includes his 2023 EP ‘Second Son, Pt. 1’ along with its unreleased second half, plus two new tracks (“1984” and “Sunlight and Cinnamon”). ‘Second Son is the artist`s most personal work to date, these songs touch on topics including his father’s passing, his relationship with his mother, anxieties and regrets, childhood, and legacy.

The album opens with `Bad Blood`, a tremendously powerful introspective composition and deals with being stuck in a loop you cannot escape and dealing with a version of yourself that you might not like very much. A recognition of your faults and flaws but finding it difficult to prevent you continuing to make them. There`s a driving beat with flowing synthesiser tones that adds a further poignancy to the number. There`s a more expansive offering with `Take Me Back` which appears to be a plea for forgiveness and was partly inspired musically by A-ha’s `Take On Me`.

We have in `Breathe In, Breathe Out` a song about reassurance and being the safe harbour for someone in distress. Another tender and tranquil offering with complementary vocals from Kori Garder-Hammel. A number that really draws you in and has that overcoming sense of comfort and assurance. I read that `Bewildered` was initially born out of an anxiety dream. An expansive melodic piano driven piece that kind of relates to somebody or something that steadies and strengthens you when life is a little disorientated.

`Far Away` is a sentimental mid paced reflection about the curious existence of a life spent on the road and missing home and family. We have an emotive and atmospheric ballad like composition in `Call Me On` which has a superb piano accompaniment from Thomas Bartlett, balancing backing harmonies and a brief string arrangement.

`Mother` is a kind of homage to the singer`s mother with whom he had a difficult relationship but recognises the love they shared, a deeply personal offering and at times it felt like were intruding in something extremely private. There`s a synth ladened gentle offering with `Your Nature` which paints a picture of a relationship where the narrator is overwhelmed by the all-embracing temperament and delightful disposition of their beloved.

`Fire Of Love` tips it`s hat to the singer`s love of cinema and was written after watching Sara Dose’s 2022 Miranda July-narrated documentary about the late volcanologists Katia and Maurice Kraff. We have a much more pop tinged outing in `1984` which is nothing to do with Orwell`s cautionary dystopian tale but a reflection of the time when the singer was born inspired by a photo which unearths a variety of feelings within the writer.

`Sunlight and Cinnamon` opens with some breathy sighs and seems to be a veiled tribute to the singer`s wife and his deep love for her and the support she offers him. The album closes with `My Ordinary Life` a number that addresses the passing of the singer`s father and touches on their strained relationship.

`Second Son` is a very personal submission where Allman Brown reveals some of the relationships and life experiences that have shaped him which i`m sure was both cathartic and healing. It is at times an intense listen but does have its lighter moments.

Allman Brown is at heart an observational singer-songwriter and if you`re a fan of similar artists such as David Grey, James Blunt, and James Morrison, you`ll wallow in Allman Brown

Rating 8.5 / 10

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