For an artist, one’s music can be their lifeline. Writing and creating can be their form of therapy, helping them work through ideas to ultimately find, or at least come closer to a solution. Atlanta-native singer-songwriter Ben Cramer - known professionally as Old Sea Brigade - knows that from heart. Old Sea Brigade works through love, confusion, companionship, and more intimate struggles in his warm yet understated debut record Ode To A Friend.
As Ode To A Friend is a record about the more intimate parts of life, the music consciously embodies that. Opening track ‘Sinkhole‘ sets the atmosphere perfectly, curious guitars underlying Cramer’s weathered timbre. The song starts gently but grows with worry, Old Sea Brigade becoming increasingly worried both lyrically and in his delivery. The song’s electronic elements add a different color of drama into the mix, similar in fashion to the way the 80’s style drums that appear in ‘Resistance‘ bring in a distinct emotion to the otherwise chill and loving track. Details build the record into what it is, whether that be on a smaller-scale, like the melodies that liven the story of the wonderful ‘Seen A Ghost,’ or on a larger one, like the wholly weathered vibe of ‘Cigarette.’
The familiar warm atmosphere of Ode To A Friend is a major component of the record, and is a testament to Old Sea Brigade’s sound. His unique blend of Americana, country, folk, and indie provides for a very wholesome and engaging listen. It lends itself towards a wide array of emotion throughout the record, as well: ballads such as ‘Hope‘ show the sadder side of things, meanwhile warmer, optimistic tracks like title song and conclusion ‘Ode To A Friend‘ help show that while Cramer is confused and lost now, he knows the answers lie just ahead. Whether he’s reassuring himself and the audience of that (‘Stay Up‘) or trying to understand it (‘Western Eyes‘), Cramer knows he has a lot on his plate he has to work through. While at times the record feels like it gets caught up in its atmosphere and doesn’t necessarily progress (particularly toward the end, where warmer tracks like ‘Want It Again‘ seem to come again and again), every track leaves you feeling warm and closer to Cramer’s woes.
It’s hard to capture your questions and hopes and put them to music, and even harder is it to share that with the world. Old Sea Brigade works through love, confusion, and more throughout his debut record Ode To A Friend, and every step of the way feels like answers are being found, if not just slowly. Ben Cramer' hasn’t finished finding his answers yet, but Ode To A Friend is a firm and promising start.
Favorite Tracks: Resistance, Seen A Ghost, Sinkhole
Least Favorite Track: Stay Up
Rating: 76 / 100
Stream or buy Ode To A Friend on Apple Music, and follow our 2019 Playlist on Spotify: