Review Summary: Definitely a gift to the fans - just not the way Ms. Branch intended.
Although the overall tale isn't quite as epic as the one fronted by Axl Rose and co., Everything Comes and Goes
does have quite the back-story attached to it. Only recently - after three years of hard work and a truckload of blog updates - did Branch finally throw in the towel and admit to herself that the goals she had initially set out to achieve were now a distant memory. It was a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth - the American artist had simply crossed paths with a slew of individuals - each with their own ideas on how the album should sound like - that by the end of it all, her original vision had found itself lost and buried under the Arizona sands. However, from the small selection of songs that did
make it out of the studio (in the form of this "bonus" EP compiled by Branch herself), the evidence of a shocking decline is clear for all to see. The final verdict is unanimous in tone and damning as hell: shelving the full release of Everything Comes and Goes
was probably for the best.
Migrating to a country-rock sound was always a bit of a mistake for Branch. In fact, the first signs of her impending musical collapse could even be glimpsed in her brief stint as one half of country-pop band The Wreckers; Branch simply did not seem to have the vocal panache nor the exquisite delivery required to bust out a country tune. The songs on the Everything Comes and Goes
EP go to great pains to point out this deficiency - numbers like "Crazy Ride" and "Summer Time" have Branch coming across as sounding tired and non-committal; the surprisingly poor songwriting puts further paid to her limp efforts. Even the brief spark provided by lead single "Sooner or Later" takes all of three listens to wear out, with Branch seemingly forgetting that the ultimate purpose of commercial music is to entertain.
Pop/rock was - and always will be - Branch's strong suit. As evidenced by both Spirit Room
and Hotel Paper
, her character, voice, and energy do lend themselves well to the genre. But every cloud has a silver lining, and Branch appears to have gleaned quite a few pearls of wisdom from this experience - word on the street is that her next release will be a return to her pop/rock roots. After experiencing the unmitigated disaster that is this EP, even hearing such simple news couldn't be more welcome.