DBA (Downes-Braide Association) – Pictures Of You

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Review by Brian McGowan

Cherry Red Records

A pop rock collaboration between Asia’s Geoff Downes and uber songwriter/producer, Chris Braide. Rock fans need no introduction to Downes. Braide has written songs and produced for David Guetta, Christina Aguilera, JLS, Cheryl Cole, The Saturdays, and many, many others. But don’t let that put you off. ‘Pictures Of You’ showcases the kind of casually ornate songwriting and urbanity of tone for which both are rightfully famous, holding onto just enough of Downes’ rock sensibilities to make it sound far less conventionally poppy than you might expect.

Opening track, ‘Sunday News Suite’ is a 13 minute, pop rock concerto, a somnambulant progression of dreamy, 3 minute prog-lite pop songs, full of sweetly seductive hooks and hazy sonic colouring. Braide’s high toned voice never breaks sweat, with the occasional autotuned vocal wrinkle adding texture here and there. Lushly textured and amply cushioned, songs like ‘The Radiant Children’ and ‘Ride The Waves’ have a rich, pastoral quality that was once captured by early Westcoast bands, before the genre turned into Toto/Marx sound alike contest. Downes’ dominant piano and synth accompaniment is economic and uncluttered, allowing the songs the space they need to shimmer and shine, creating a gravity defying weightlessness on the distinctly Asia-esque title track, ‘Pictures Of You‘, in which Braide dreamily ponders issues of love and loss.

None of the 12 tracks, all written in the studio, are apparently in a hurry to get anywhere, sailing out on a sea of keyboards, all gleaming with newly minted splendour. ‘Songs That Can Heal’ and ‘Sky Sailor’ are maybe the picks, both quickly sprouting effortless hooks, and carrying a little more lyrical weight. But the truth is that less turns out to be more on this slow-growing but charming album.

DBA (Downes Braide Association) - Pictures Of You8 out of 10

Tracklist:

  1. Sunday News Suite
    • Sunday News
    • Islands
    • Goodbye Johnny
    • Anywhere
  2. The Radiant Children
  3. The Superfortress
  4. Pictures Of You
  5. Songs That Can Heal
  6. Ride The Waves
  7. Road To Ruin
  8. Live For The Moment
  9. Sky Sailor