Bryde finds balance in conflicting and contradictory sounds.
Like an Island is Bryde’s debut album via her own record label, Seahorse Music. As a means of increasing the visibility of female musicians within the music industry, Bryde’s record label is a showcase of female talent, something which is reasserted by her own release. With her balance of carnal percussion and stunning vocals, Like an Island demonstrates the power of female musicians: if Bryde is anything to go by, they are capable of being strong, sombre and here to mean business.
The opening tracks To Be Brave and Less are fitting choices as an introduction to Bryde for anyone who hasn’t heard her music before. Indeed, their combination of vulnerable lyrics and building, propulsive percussion is emblematic as Bryde as an artist. Their haunting melodies wouldn’t go amiss on a Daughter album, but it is her vocals where her power lies.
Balancing an amplified yet chilling sound, Bryde has an ability to match clashing guitars with vulnerable lyrics. With fierce hooks and swinging guitars, no holds are barred, and we are thrown head first into the world of Bryde. In doing so, the percussion acts as a hard-outer shell that hides a soft, heart-wrenching inner core – a complexity that is allows the tracks to be dense, giving her vocals the ability to evolve at every moment.
Fast Awake on the other hand is noticeably more upbeat, something which is contrasted with its own darker lyrics. The ethereal vocals and the echoing chorus asking to ‘pull me to my feet’ offers a perfect divergence away from the previous expansive heavy choruses. Going back to her indie-folk roots, all ears are on Bryde’s use of sharp lyricism and breathy vocals, showing how despite her musical journey, she can still go back to her Welsh roots.
To Be Loved is an expansion of the primal sounds as displayed in the opening, with the track evidently being more percussion driven. With the rock-edged sound that it embodies, it conveys a mature form of angst. Cutting across the percussion with a singalong chorus, Bryde represents her lyrics as being relatable, screaming out and letting her passion explicitly flow through the track. It is clear that To Be Loved comes from a deep place, with the emotion raw to her vocals showing her ability to let loose within her melodies.
The final song Steady Heart takes a subsidiary position and is almost backgrounded in comparison to the other songs on the album. Although perhaps not the strongest possible ending when considering what Bryde has demonstrated she is capable of, the track is beautiful nonetheless. Moving away from the loud, brash dynamics of previous tracks, Bryde’s vocals are given the opportunity to stand at the forefront, something which turns out to be a beautiful showcase. Albeit not as memorable as the likes of Fast Awake and Peace, Steady Heart is the much waited for calm following the storm. When listened to in relation to To Be Brave the album can be perceived as being a stripping down of Bryde’s identity: no longer is she vulnerable yet audacious. She is just vulnerable and pure.
In spite of the myriad of different sounds exhibited by Bryde, none of the songs on Like An Island seem out of place. Succeeding at balancing the angelic with the unapologetic, Bryde demonstrates how Celtic vocals can cooccur alongside grungy rock sounds. Because of this juxtaposing permeation, the record is captivating throughout, signalling the beginning of a very promising music career.