Black Belt Eagle Scout: At the Party With My Brown Friends (Saddle Creek) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024  

Black Belt Eagle Scout

At the Party With My Brown Friends

Saddle Creek

Aug 26, 2019 Black Belt Eagle Scout Bookmark and Share

Some artists are capable of a certain kind of showiness that seizes the light without seeming to do so. Katherine Paul fits this description, achieving more through simple melody and gentle repetition than shock tactics and bombast ever could. It’s a trick she pulled off with her debut as Black Belt Eagle Scout, and she does so again with the follow-up, At the Party with My Brown Friends.

When Mother of My Children came out in 2018, a lot of attention swirled around her background growing up on a Swinomish Indian Reservation in NW Washington State, her sexuality, and political activism.

Without repeating herself, none of these elements are lost, weaved into confident, often beautiful explorations of love, friendship, personal growth, and identity. This is made clear from the start, “At the Party” mixing confidence and emotional release, the lyrics questioning and probing while concluding “we will always sing.”

That Paul is an artist defiantly unburdened by the increase in expectation brought by her debut is evident time and again. It’s in the raw guitar on “I Said I Wouldn’t Write This Song” and it surrounds the burst of energy lighting “Going to the Beach With Haley,” a song inspired by a trip to the sea with Haley Heynderickx.

If there’s a standout, it’s “Real Lovin,” a gorgeous track elevating Paul’s vocals, playing like a hypnotic lullaby, proof she can slow and strip down her sound without losing vibrancy. When she sings “There’s real love” over and over, it’s impossible not to feel it.

At the Party with My Brown Friends is the sound of an artist changing without changing, picking up what worked and carrying it into something new. Searing less, simmering more, it lingers and lingers and lingers. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10


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