ep review ~ bribry ~ 'grow'

Building on the remarkable success of his online cult following and the subsequent release of debut singles (particularly the stunning 'Your Life Over Mine'), Dublin born purveyor of 'folky, indie-pop' Brian O'Riley is now on a one man mission to take over the world. Performing under the affectionate pseudonym 'BriBry', 2013 saw the release of his second EP 'Grow', a delicate acoustic affair capitalizing on the charm, wit and overwhelming warmth which has led to over a quarter of a million subscribers on Youtube and a legion of fans around the planet. After his successful stint as support for Orla Gartland's recent Belfast headline shows, Encore NI had the privilege of chatting to the singer/songwriter and grabbing a copy of the much sought after 'Grow EP'.

Opening proceedings with the gentle balladry of an artist much beyond his young years, 'Child' is BriBry's ode to his future children. Brimming with sentimentality and a potent lyricism that perfectly encapsulates the young songwriters optimistic, yet refreshingly honest perspective. Carefully striking a balance between cautious positivity and sweet devotion, BriBry alludes to the inevitability of life's more difficult periods, while brilliantly encouraging his future child keep their head up. 'And when you fall in love cherish your heart, if it breaks don't let it tear your world apart'. This is all offered solely on the promise that 'you learn from my mistakes', a sweet and caring sentiment that manages to remain genuine throughout. Wrapped in the kind of rich tone that has won Ed Sheeran countless accolades, 'Child' is a beautifully written ballad and a fitting introduction.

This is followed by the simply wonderful 'Adventure Time', a song written in a similarly heartfelt manner, though tinged with the type of melancholy that can overwhelm entire audiences almost effortlessly. Picking through a passion filled chord structure, here BriBry's Irish croon drifts through the minimalist set up, never loosing it's passion or the honesty from which you imagine the song was written. Subtle piano embellishments and vocal re-verb simply elevates the emotional depth of what is a truly moving song. Again, BriBry alludes to his longing for fatherhood and the joys of having 'grandkids hanging off your arm', although the overwhelming elements seem to revolve around his desire to never loose his sense of childlike wonder and keeping the spark of his undoubted love burning for as long as possible. The first line, 'And if I, if I loose my head again, please remind me that I have nothing and I'd be nowhere without you to protect me' resonating immediately. BriBry's natural wit occasionally surfaces from beneath the waves of emotion, 'Life's a game to me, but with only one controller' particularly reminiscent of Never Shout Never's Christopher Drew and indeed, the delivery is similarly so. This, however, is no bad thing and with every listen 'Adventure Time' not only continues to pull on metaphorical heartstrings, it does so each time with added vigor, emotion and unrelenting passion.

'Old Enough' see's BriBry up the tempo, as a fast paced guitar see's Grow's folk styling's given their first real run out. Showing an almost Ben Howard-esque element (see 'The Wolves' from his debut Every Kingdom), here BriBry's falsetto vocals and mixture of arpeggio picking and strumming may benefit from a crashing drum or at least, slight percussion. That said, the strength of the songs foot tapping chorus alone is enough to make this a solid addition to the EP.

Ending with a live rendition of 'You Are', here the EP returns to it's delicate core, as BriBry plays alone, with only a piano to accompany him. The sorrowful arrangement of the song, along with it's ever so vintage feel from the quality of the live recording, leaves the impression that this song would be the perfect accompaniment to a tragic love scene in a coming of age Sit-Com. Once again, BriBry's lyricism remains both poetic and endearing.

 'I go to crazy extents just to be the guy, who see's you first thing when he opens his eyes'.

For a live performance, it's as engaging as is imaginable. The sheer silence of the crowd a testament to the captivating performance element that accompanies his increasingly impressive back catalog.

In all, 'Grow' is an emotion filled affair, brimming with confidence and moments of lyrical brilliance.
BriBry is sounding increasingly like the finished article already.

Taylor Johnson

If you like... Never Shout Never | Lewis Watson | Ed Sheeran ~ You'll love BriBry

Keep up to date with all official BriBry news on the links below:

Official Website

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