Soaring Songwriting| Posted April 09, 2015
Singer songwriter Dan Bremnes has come a long way, both literally and figuratively, from Canada to Nashville for his debut EP with Capitol Records. The artist started out playing drums in church at just 10 years old in his hometown in British Columbia. Years of experimenting, learning, focusing on God's calling on his life and enduring some heartbreak along the way has shaped Dan's songs into a deep maturity that belies his Nashville newcomer status.
The strongest point of this album is the tight, powerful songwriting, a highlight which shines immediately on title track "Where the Light Is." This autobiographical song takes the listener through the artist's childhood and later tragedies he encountered, in all of it applying the poignant plea to God "God be with me, don't know where I'm going / will You lead me where the light is?" Closing track "Even If" also showcases the incredible writing on this project, declaring devotion and dedication to God no matter the circumstances with phrases like "Even if I sink to the depths of the ocean will I cling to You / Even if I'm stranded in middle of a desert will I follow You."
A sonic strong point on Where The Light Is lies in the melody structures and in the way Dan's powerful voice carries them. The melodies are reminiscent of powerhouse group for KING & COUNTRY, soaring through an impressive range and managing to strike that much sought-after balance between catchy and unique. Upbeat "Heart on Fire" shows this off, backed by an instrumental arrangement and corporate vocals that hints at folk influences. "Born Again" is presented in an acoustic format, and although the production is perhaps a little too heavy-handed for this selection, here the melody and Dan's voice also shine. This could easily be a sing-along moment at a concert, with an urgent joy in every word that makes it hard not to respond.
As far as instrumentation goes, there is a strong percussion presence that seems to pay tribute to Dan's humble beginnings. "Beautiful" is driven by a solid beat behind its soaring, worship-oriented lyrics, and the title track rides thunderous drum tones through the chorus.
With the Where The Light Is EP, Dan Bremnes proves his ability to craft melodies and lyrics that are as musically strong as they are spiritually and emotionally engaging. His songwriting is incredibly purposeful, offering more vivid, poetic language than most AC acts while keeping each song accessible. There are a few misses in terms of production or moments where a track treads ground already recently covered (such as on "He Knows" which, although an extremely solid track in its own right, is thematically nearly identical to recent hit Jeremy Camp song of the same name). However, the misses are far outweighed by the homeruns. This EP would be solid even for an artist much more established, so coming from a new artist it's even more impressive. Dan's is a new voice that should absolutely not be ignored.