Welsh musician Sarah Howells holds a particular fondness for the muscle and density of alternative rock's bristling evocations. And under the moniker of Bryde, she reshapes these burly influences into a sound both graceful and blistering. She specializes in devouring catharses of all sizes and breaking down their components to the barest of musical elements. Reminiscent of the way in which artists like Liz Phair and PJ Harvey tore down our emotional defenses while exposing their own vulnerabilities, her work is intimate and adaptive, possessing an enormous energy and rock-centric vitality.
Her debut record, "Like An Island," will be released on April 13 via Seahorse Music, an imprint she founded to assist female artists in getting their music published as they maneuver through a male-dominated music marketplace. It was mixed by Catherine Marks and mastered by Mandy Parnell. The album looks to give a voice to those who have no way to speak up and seeks to provide some needed illumination in these dark days.
On recent single, "To Be Brave," she speaks to a certain public bravery, the kind of shield we put up when going through hard times in a public setting. The song is firm hand to cling to in a vast ocean of unwanted attention and heartache -- she also addresses an emotional distance and withdrawal. Pitted against this theme are reverberating guitars notes (with just the slightest hint of distortion), an insistent percussion that comes in about halfway through the song and Howell's inimitable voice, itself a thing of devastation and consequence. For its accompanying video, she trekked to Dungeness in England, a place which holds a special significance to her, and explores these ideas of isolation and eventual restoration.