It’s been awhile since we last heard from Keith LuBrant. His previous release was Searching For Signal in January of 2007. We praised LuBrant for his ability to combine relatable lyrics with catchy hooks. The blend of powerpop and rock & roll is filled with pop sensibility and classic influences. Now, six years later, he returns with a new album called Who I Am. And he probably couldn’t have picked a better title as the music on this release reflects who Keith LuBrant is as a musician and an artist.
The album kicks off with a lot of energy. “Wide Awake and Alive” is a pure rock & roll song, driven by the force of guitars and urgent vocals. But underneath the quick pace and bundled energy there’s actually an interesting arrangement that brings melody and skill to the table. It’s sixties rock & roll in a modern jacket. A perfect blend of recognizability, originality and fun.
The album carries on in a nice fashion with “She Always Finds A Way”, which is a powerpop song that’s typical for LuBrant’s style and ability. Successful independent artists like John Taglieri, JJ Appleton and John Hampson have proven there is an audience for this type of music, and rightfully so. It’s pure and honest, it doesn’t rely on fancy decorations or computerized polishing. LuBrant is true to who he is and he’s not afraid to put it out there. The guitar is the groundwork and the vocals that change intensity to build up a climax work like a charm.
There are several songs on the album that don’t necessarily stand out but are an example of the overall quality of the album. And it makes sense, because on an album that has only stand out songs, there are no stand out songs, because there’s nothing that sets the songs apart from the others. “Call of the Search” provides an uptempo sing-along song while “Breathe” takes the pace down a little bit and enables LuBrant’s rootsy side to shine through a little bit.
Deserving a mention is “I Know It’s Over (You Win)” which has a very laid back arrangement and has an almost bluesy undertone. The interaction between the instrumentals and the vocals are in perfect harmony and change the scenery of the song between the verses and the choruses. You can hear some 60s/70s British Influence underneath, but at the same time it has the bluesy/rootsy feel of the late 70s and the melodic pop vibe of the early 90s. The creative use of the arrangement shows off Keith LuBrant’s versatility and musical skill. The vocals emphasize the lyrics and the excellent guitar playing make this song one of the absolute standouts on Who I Am.
“Good For The Girl” is pretty straight-forward but the forward motion in this song makes it stick with you. It might not be the strongest song on the album, but it’s effective nonetheless. The rhythm, the tempo and the recognizability of the tune make it one of those songs that you cannot get out of your head for awhile.
Next up is the title track. The quirky, poppy song is very refreshing and would probably do quite well on independent and college radio stations. The chorus is pure gold. I’m almost expecting a little background clap-along, sing-along scenery. It shows, once again, that LuBrant has a real talent to create honest rock & roll songs with good hooks and pop sensibility.
“Stranger in my Skin” and “Some Things Never Change” feature raw, heartland rock songs. Heartfelt and honestly portrayed. “Sunshine in the South” takes down the pace a little bit. The midtempo anthem feels like a personal, more emotional journey. The addition of keys and emphasis on the melodic lines brings out another side of Keith LuBrant. On “Come Home”, LuBrant bares his soul even more. The acoustic song is stripped of everything except the bare essentials of acoustic guitar and emotional vocals. For just over 1m30, LuBrant speaks straight from the heart. The album also features a bonus track called “Saturation Station” on which LuBrant shows his skills as a guitarist, which I guarantee you is a treat!
Who I Am is a testament to the musician that is Keith LuBrant. Seemingly effortless he blends classic rock, powerpop and other influences together into songs that are well written, performed with honesty and have the ability to resonate with people who prefer different genres and influences. It may have taken six years since Searching For Signal, but Who I Am was well worth the wait. Nothing is overdone, nothing is underdone, it’s all right there. Keith LuBrant doesn’t hide behind fancy productions or other bells and whistles. In the days where the charts are filled with almost artificial music, where young bands try to go out of their way to show they are different or creative and come up with the strangest things, it is refreshing to hear music that is honest and doesn’t try to be what it isn’t. On Who I Am, Keith LuBrant presents just that. Honest, straight-forward, high quality rock & roll music of today!