Angie and the Deserters – Stay
Angie and the Deserters’ new single, “Stay”, further illustrates the strength of the band’s EP release You. This intelligently written and elegiac number has the sort of instrumental excellence we’ve been led to expect from this singer and collection of musician alongside the same emotive energy defining everything they touch. The center of everything, of course, is Angie Bruyere’s vocals. This is the sort of singing you are born with and can never teach. Bruyere’s voice wrings every drop of yearning in the lyric and fills the lines with tangible, down-on-her-heels gravitas. She has the sharp instincts for never over singing Instead, Bruyere reveals herself once again as a vocalist who mightily labors to bring her singing in accord with the musical arrangement so that the final seamless effect makes for an even more complete song. “Stay” has the sort of production that brings all of these intangibles into an impressive work of musical and vocal art.
The artful touch with this song is evident from the first seconds on. It begins with a bit of a flourish courtesy of acoustic guitar and mandolin, but fiddle soon rises from the mix and establishes itself as the song’s dominant instrument outside of Bruyere’s singing. It weaves a delicate path across the face of the song and meshes in quite well with the straight-ahead nature of the remaining instrumental work. “Stay” conjures a lot of magic with a relatively limited sonic palate, but it is so gently threaded together that it might elude some listeners just how difficult it is to bring off such an intimate feel. Each of the players must be attentive and tuned in with their musical partners; there’s little question that Angie Bruyere and her band clear that bar with ample room to spare.
Her voice works quite well with the instruments. Rather than singing against the playing and trying to create some dramatic tension, Bruyere wisely opts to bring the vocal melody and her phrasing completely in line with the band’s playing. The violin parts, in particular, match up with her extraordinarily well and make for a formidable musical pairing. Another critical factor in whether this song lives or dies on the vine is when she chooses to sing and let silence or the music speak for her instead. Her choices in this area never miss on “Stay”. She takes advantage of every musical high point and treats the song’s valleys with the same astute judgment. It creates a total listening experience for her audience and never over-indulges to flatter the performer’s ego. “Stay” is one of the best tracks from an EP that exhibits more talent in a restricted space than even most long time musical veterans can dream of. Releasing this as a single isn’t representative of the assortment of styles she calls on to make the EP so satisfying, but it is representative of her finesse and spirit. This is a song that will grow on you more and more with each new listen.