They say it’s grim up North and one listen of breakthrough singer-songwriter Brooke Bentham’s opening salvo in 2017 might reinforce that sentiment. “It’s funny how small things can wreck away at your life, when you’re not doing anything but living inside,” she sings on the opening track of her debut EP The Room Swayed.
The swells and plummets of the track – titled ‘Nowhere Near Sense’ – possess the epic alt rock journeying of War On Drugs or Ryan Adams with the added emotional vocal depths of Sharon Van Etten or Angel Olsen. That all this is the fruits of a 21-year-old from South Shields outside of Newcastle might take you by surprise. It carries the weight of someone who’s lived a hundred lives already.
A huge fan of Yo La Tengo, Fleet Foxes, Kevin Morby and Bon Iver, she continued to mine her own creative voice to try and develop something similarly ground-breaking. Eventually her first taste of success – a song called ‘Oliver’ – was a turn in the road. That tune brought her the sonic direction she was working towards. Her first proper show was at local legendary rock venue The Cluny back in Newcastle. By chance, the sound guy that night also did sound for successful performer James Bay and a connection sparked with Communion, the label part-owned by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons.
Brooke Bentham plays The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Mon 20th November 2017. Tickets available here.
Listen to ‘I Need Your Body’ below: