The Owl Review: Brilliant Mind – Blyth (EP)

Brilliant Mind – Blyth (Tiny Light Recordings)
Once every generation, a lyricist with the ability to encapsulate the working class experience into beautifully crafted pop songs make themselves known: in the 1980’s, Morrissey captured the suffering of the British masses under Thatcher, Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian offered an escape from the laddish Britpop of the 1990’s through his yearning words, whilst in the 00’s, Alex Turner exhibited the heights of northern culture through his sharp observations – ladies of the night and attempting to get a taxi home. In the lyrics of Calum Lynn, frontman of Brilliant Mind, the 2010’s has gained a voice every bit as wistful, witty and wry as those who have gone before.

‘Blyth’ takes the listener on a journey through the grim wasteland of the northern town from which Brilliant Mind derive – the claustrophobia and perpetual dissatisfaction of small town syndrome shaping much of Lynn’s lyrical focus. Hidden behind the tale of lurking lust on opener ‘Don’t Give Me That, Rob’, the neurosis of an unsatisfactory existence creeps into the frame: ‘You take an average boy and you take success/ and he’ll chase it down ’till there’s nothing left’. However, Brilliant Mind don’t necessarily want to escape the depraved urban landscape of their existence, instead aiming to find beauty in the grim and grey, best demonstrated on the beautifully nuanced ‘The Room Upstairs’, in which shadowy images of discrete lovers blur with ‘playing fields’ and ‘the railway tracks’ – ‘The Room Upstairs’ also demonstrates the often overlooked musicality of the band: the brilliance of Lynn’s words are underpinned by deceptively intricate riffs and subdued minor chords.

However, it’s the eponymous track of the EP which best demonstrates the talent of Brilliant Mind: ‘Blyth’, our track of the week in last week’s The Hoot, begins as a beautifully melancholic ballad but progresses into something far more anthemic – once again, Lynn finds hope and beauty in the flawed and desolate industrial wasteland. It was said that Lowry found optimum inspiration for his ‘matchstick men’ and portrayal of Northern life in Blyth, and the same can be said for Brilliant Mind – poetic and dripping with melancholic sentiment, ‘Blyth’ is a masterpiece.