The Body and Big|Brave
Leaving None But Small Birds


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (89 Reviews)
October 5th, 2021 | 35 replies


Release Date: 10/01/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: timelessly subdued

The title Leaving None But Small Birds implies near-total emptiness, albeit a delicate, precious sense of void. It’s not unrepresentative of the music on the record, while simultaneously being almost everything one wouldn’t expect from a collaboration between two sludgepostdrone-giants. Instead of Big|Brave and The Body draining all their usual intensities into the work, the album itself feels drained, with the bands finding an ominous sense of life in the voices of those who can’t speak.

‘Blackest Crow’ introduces Leaving None… on a wonderfully monotonous note, setting the record’s earthy folk tones from its very first seconds. Embracing hypnotising acoustic patterns and chilly violins, the song puts Robin Wattie’s vocals at the forefront. Where Big|Brave’s frontwoman tends to exist in the shadows of her own band’s metallic onslaught and occasionally howling through the static, she masterfully assumes the spotlight in this new sonic landscape. Her voice is as demanding as it feels entirely timeless, perfectly complementing the instrumentals and configuring the record’s eerily inviting aura. ‘Once I Had A Sweetheart’, the album’s mesmerising centerpiece, feels particularly far removed from colour and light. Reframing feedback-ridden, droning guitars in a solemn, fully unaided context, the song appears entirely detached from anything human. As Wattie’s voice draws closer, seemingly begging for life while refusing to give in to desperation, the track’s concluding lyrics feel like an appropriate summation: “The rest of my life I’ll venture towards you / She’s gone and left me”.

All of Leaving None…’s lyrics are borrowed, reframed and repurposed: having collected phrases, characters and stories from traditional hymns, Wattie delivers unique takes on long-forgotten tales. Rather than feeling like outsiders merely recycling folklore, the bands’ meticulous approach to songwriting immerses each moment in the stories. ‘Hard Times’, a seven-minute epic detailing the misery of labourers in an old mill, brings its imagery to life through Wattie’s fracturedly clear voice and an intense focus on repeated patterns. Its second half merely consists of the words “It’s hard times in this old mill” repeating themselves, before static eventually reduces it to nothing but that: white noise. The voices subdued yet again, the stories of the marginalised left to fade once more: ‘Hard Times’ is a rewarding listen, not a pleasant one.

As such, Big|Brave and The Body’s unique styles find a comfortable home in folk music. Rather than directing sonic onslaughts towards anyone willing to listen, the bands concentrate their darkness towards delivering tales of those who wouldn’t be able to tell them in this way. Closer ‘Babes in the Woods’ feels like an appropriate conclusion to Leaving None…, draining its gothic-tinged hums into a fully instrumental drone, before the static cuts for one final, a cappella hymn: “And all night long the branches among / They mourned as they whistled / And this was their song”. This album may not be Big|Brave and The Body’s song, it most definitely is their project, propelled by the hushed and buried.



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user ratings (31)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 5th 2021


3459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

may have invented a word here sorry and shush anyway album good



https://bigbravesl.bandcamp.com/album/leaving-none-but-small-birds

Digging: Slow Crush - Hush

combustion07
October 5th 2021


9284 Comments


Nice review! I'll give this one a shot. Haven't checked out anything from The Body in awhile but this sounds pretty up my alley I think

Digging: Nefarion - Self Immolation for Daemonic Positioning

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
October 5th 2021


9218 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

don't know anythang about that Big Brave band but me likey The Body! comfy rev bro

Digging: Moon Kissed - I?d Like to Tell You Something Important

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2021


26057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My man!



I'll be back to read this. Album fucks.

Digging: Blackwater Holylight - Silence/Motion

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
October 5th 2021


2949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hadn't planned on checking this one, but this review ruined that... Nice one Jesper, sounds like I may enjoy this.

butt.
October 5th 2021


9096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really digging this.

DDDeftoneDDD
October 5th 2021


18916 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This one humhum



Polly Gosford hum hum

Digging: She Said Destroy - Succession

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 5th 2021


3459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thx bois!!

dedex (& everyone else really): check the album big brave put out earlier this year, a srs aoty contender for me

DDDeftoneDDD
October 5th 2021


18916 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Rec noted

Btw, I thought big brave was folk. Hehe

kevbogz
October 6th 2021


3527 Comments


2021 the year of jespy dewy n dedey. what a time to be a sputter

Digging: Glean - Demo

Gyromania
October 6th 2021


33131 Comments


Grear review. This album bored the shit out of me

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2021


26057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great read Jesp, sad to read you didn't like this one Gyro.



I think they did smth really cool, The Body and Big|Brave are the last two bands I would have thought they would collab in a Steeleye Span, Canterbury folk post-drone revival, but they nailed it. It preserves that traditional feel while but with a modern sound. Really good stuff.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
October 6th 2021


9218 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

ok i promise i will listen to both this and the solo Big Brave one

DDDeftoneDDD
October 6th 2021


18916 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yaps dew. I also felt it very traditional rooted folk with slight and clever modern/post touches. Supercool yeah.



If there s only one thing we love about gyro it must be his honnesty.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 6th 2021


3459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ty! :]

happy to see you enjoyed this 3d, it's a vibe for sure

ShartHarder
October 6th 2021


88 Comments


anyone else getting Earth-ish vibes from this?

DDDeftoneDDD
October 6th 2021


18916 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You must know better on what you re talking about. I only listened to the one with the green car and my answer would be "no"

yet, there's def drone underneath this

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2021


26057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"anyone else getting Earth-ish vibes from this? "



Oh yeah, definitely.

ShartHarder
October 6th 2021


88 Comments


@DDDeftoneDDD - yeah I meant more recent Earth, definitely not the older 90s stuff. More like a air-y, drone-y, folk-y vibe

Azog
October 6th 2021


595 Comments


My name is Azog, and I endorse this review.



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