There’s a good amount of the time that I look forward to an album and it ends up disappointing me or falling well short of expectations. Fire on the Vine, the new album from Bryan John Appleby, is not one of those albums. From first note to last it delivers on all the promise of his debut EP, displaying Appleby’s exceptional storytelling ability and his mastery of rhythm. On an album of superb work, ‘Honey Jars’ is the standout to me.
There are a lot of reasons why I think ‘Honey Jars’ is a triumph of a song, but the one I can’t shake is this: the song reminds me of that gut wrenching montage towards the beginning of Up (you know, that montage that is completely not fair and a total punch in the gut?). It’s a dark, but not overly depressing, look at the struggles of life once your soul mate passes on, with how to move forward living with only the memories and not the person anymore. I find it hard to believe that a song this well crafted and affecting is the work of someone who just put out their first full length and is largely unknown (though I don’t suppose that last statement is going to hold true for long). It’s rare that someone is able to realize their promise and potential, but it appears that Bryan John Appleby is on his way to doing just that, and our ears will reap the rewards of that realization (though our hearts may ache a bit more).
It goes without saying, but you should immediately head over to Bryan John Appleby’s Bandcamp page and purchase Fire on the Vine. It’s one of the finest albums I’ve heard so far this year, one that has revealed new depth on each listen. To say I’m excited to see Bryan perform at Doe Bay in less than two weeks is an understatement. Enjoy.