Bryde: The Volume of Things (Easy Life) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, January 24th, 2021  


The Volume of Things

Easy Life

Jul 27, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Bryde’s debut solo album Like An Island was a body of work heavily informed by a break-up, as the Welsh-born singer/songwriter (full name Sarah Howells) rode often turbulent seas of emotion as she worked through feelings of loss isolation and resilience. Howells navigates far less choppy waters on her follow up album The Volume of Things but emotionally it’s not all plain sailing. 

Having cut her musical teeth with JYLT and then Paper Aeroplanes before branching out alone as Bryde, Howells admits she suffered from emotional burnout after the release of Like An Island and underwent “quite a paradigm shift in terms of how I treat myself.” These experiences led her to write The Volume of Things, revealing a more outward-looking Howells, ready to let go of the past and take in the bigger picture. Yes, there are still moments of angst and anxiety but this is tempered with a sense of calmness, optimism, and perhaps resolution. The album’s title refers to the bombardment of “things” in modern life, the information overload, constant news cycles, technological distractions, and the tyranny of choice. And through all this noise is a quest to find meaning and make connections with people on a deeper level.   

Opening with the beautiful “Silence” with contains lyrics such as Come around, turn the volume down on violence/We are digging for diamonds in the fire,” it demonstrates Bryde is still as adept as ever at juxtaposing beauty and vulnerability with fierceness and passion. 

“80 Degrees” has a modern country grungy tinge not a million miles away from Julia Jacklin whilst the evocative “Flies,” a song about body image and self-doubt is reminiscent in feel and tone to her debut album. The propulsive driving “Hallelujahs” provides more evidence of Bryde’s ability to create a beguiling mix of melodic grunge rock fused with a sprinkling of literate Americana. And previous single, the urgent “Paper Cut,” returns to the theme of connection and of opening yourself up to possibility. And it’s that tangible sense of possibility that informs the album’s more optimistic tone.

Despite dialling down the angst, The Volume of Things manages to make a bigger and bolder statement than its predecessor yet has the same emotional heft due to Howells’ intelligent, poetic lyricism and a keen ear for soaring melody. It’s a beautifully crafted and deftly produced album (by Thomas Mitchener—Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, The Futureheads, BlackWaters) which does sound more accessible and yet still retains that intrinsic “Brydeness” that marked her out as such a compelling and emotionally honest artist in the first place. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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