Review Summary: A massive sounding straight out rock album with impressive musicianship and clever lyrics, though a couple of missteps make it fall short of potential.
'Come Morning We Fight' is British band Brigade's second album, after their debut 'Lights' which showcased their essential rocky sound with tinges of emo, metal and even some instrumentals chucked in. It's a sound which has been used a lot lately (notably by Brigade's singer Will Simpson's brother, Charlie Simpson of Busted and Fightstar fame) but 'Lights' showed them doing it well and with an intriguing taste for atmospheric guitar and changes of pace (and without the overused screaming). 'Come Morning We Fight' has been 2 years in the making and the results are mixed but encouraging.
Straight from the off , first track 'What Are You Waiting For"' show that Brigade still rock. Driving guitar and chanting vocals blast you into the album and midway through a change in tempo leads to a crescendo of noise. It's all very big and pounding but it's not exactly complex. It's an energising if somewhat uncomplicated opener and gets you ready for the rest of the album. (8/10)
Second track 'Pilot' is the first single off the album and it's hard to deny the catchiness of the sing as Will Simpson hits the high notes with a quick paced tune. However the emo tinge comes on a bit strong as the line 'take the pain away' comes over repeatedly and this doesn't really show the inventiveness of the band and it's all a bit forgettable. (6/10)
'Together Apart' continues with the catchy, pop/emo vein of the previous song. It works better this time around due to increased catchiness and slightly better lyrics and it's hard not to sing along. In my opinion it would have been a better single than 'Pilot' but again, there's a lack of inventiveness. (7/10)
'Res Head' breaks out of the vein of the preceding songs with a song about a zombie invasion! This is the first one where Brigade sound like they're stretching themselves to produce something a little larger and more layered and it works well. The guitar work in 'Res Head' is reminiscent of Muse, with a frantic edge and it works well with the lyrics of the song. Some wordless background vocals add to the sound and it all comes to a racing guitar conclusion. Definitely one of the best and most original songs off the album. (9/10)
'Stunning' finds more of a pop niche with some more upbeat lyrics and a bouncy tune. it injects a nice sense of energy to the proceedings and while you won't be headbanging along to it you might just find yourself tapping your foot. A nice change of pace, though they lyrics could have done with less repetition. (8/10)
'Slow Dives & Alibis' dives back into the Muse-esque guitars of 'Res Head' and has a similar apocalyptic feel as the chorus belts out 'So this is the end/and I fail to believe/that's all in my head'. However the song has Brigade's unique style with subtle shifts in pace and Simpson gets a chance to show his vocal talents, The guitar work here is really impressive with the guitars complementing each other as they spiral frantically while the drumming backs up the speed excellently. Tied for best song on the album in my opinion. (9.5/10)
'Four Kids To A Glockenspiel' is the somewhat obligatory slow song on the album and sadly it fails to resonate for me, especially after the energy of the previous tracks. The singing is fine and there's nothing wrong with the pacing but little emotion really gets through and it just tries too hard. Lyrics such as 'I hope you're not alone/I hope you're doing fine and happy' hardly brim with feeling, for all that Simpson tries to wring it out mournfully. it seems to be striving for a sad ballad sound but it doesn't really sound sad. The use of various orchestral instruments is a nice sign of originality but it's a shame more emotion didn't really come through. (5/10)
The title track continues the slow pace as it's an instrumental which is something of a surprise in the middle of the album. Disappointingly the instrumental doesn't show any really complicated sound, instead drifting into a kind of repetitive, slow sound which starts to get irritating towards the end. Maybe this would have been better placed somewhere else on the album but here it just slows the album to a crawl. (5/10)
'Shortcuts' seems like a response to the previous two tracks as it roars into the same kind of rock overdrive as the first track. However instead of going full out for the crescendo there's a nice shift into a spacey sounding interlude before it shifts back into gear and a couple of shouts and background vocals keep the song up. However the song lyrics still lack any kind of real emotional pull and it comes out as a straightforward rock song with not much else, good for getting the album going again. (7/10)
'Vice To Versa' is a song more reminiscent of 'Lights', with more of Brigade's original style with some shifts in atmosphere as the song starts with a low brooding sound shifting occasionally into energy before subsiding back into atmospheric singing and guitars, finishing with a burst of noise. It keeps up the energy on the tail end of the album well and grabs your attention a little more than the preceding tracks. (8/10)
'Asinine' is the album's real rocker, in the style of the opener but with more of an emphasis on the thudding guitar and quiet/loud shifts. The lyrics are dark without descending into over the top gloominess and it has the same massive sound as the other better songs on the album. The guitars and drum rolls establish the atmosphere and there's a definite rock and roll attitude in the starting lines, 'It's got to be different/there's got to be space for a new start'. One of the better songs on the album and excellently placed to keep your interest from wandering. (9/10)
'Sink Sink Swim' is a interesting song at the tail end. There's some of the upbeat pop sounds in the chorus which contrasts with the dismayed lyrics which are some of the best on the album. However it's hard to really get into it as you don't know whether to head bang, clap your hands or what. Definitely a sign that Brigade can easily produce original songs but it's hard to know what to make of it. (8/10)
'Boundaries' is the closing and in my opinion tied best song on the album. It starts off slowly before shifting into a wall of distorted guitar and the lines 'I can't see the bottom but it's clear/All the way down through misguided hopes and fears' are delivered with the most emotion of any on the album. The guitar on this song is brilliant, standing on its own without the need for any singing, creating a wall of controlled sound which unleashes into a great wave as Simpson strains his voice to keep up (and does it with a lot of emotion). It ends quietly but hauntingly in great fashion. It has the epic sound that Brigade have at their best. (9.5/10)
'Come Morning We Fight' is a genre defying mix that it's best just to label rock and for the most part it sounds good, the sounds skilfully interwoven, the lyrics clever and the songs with their own unique style. However while it sounds catchier and rockier that their debut it also sometimes lacks the emotion and atmospherics that made Brigade something a little extraordinary. I'd recommend trying it if you like any form of rock because it really is a well made and mostly impressive album but don't expect it to be a classic.