Bronze Radio Return – Up, On & Over

written by: July 2, 2013
Album-art-for-Up-On-&-Over-by-Bronze-Radio-Return Release Date: June 25, 2013


“Up, On & Over,” the title track on the third album from Bronze Radio Return, sets an upbeat tone that is carried throughout each track. The sextet from Hartford, Conn. produced an LP rich with percussion and accents from guitar, harmonica, and banjo. Up, On & Over is particularly melodic, transporting the listener to the farm in Louisa, Va. where it was recorded.

The richness of Bronze Radio Return sets the group apart from its folk-pop counterparts; its original sound is much more bare than typical music from the genre. It has apparent rock influences, as heard on the debut self-titled EP.

The full-bodied sounds produced by the six band members are very impressive. Each song on Up, On & Over has its own quirks and style, subtleties that are only noticeable in the context of the album as a whole.

The downside to Up, On & Over is that while the bridge to each song is catchy and quickly learned, the sound rarely wanders from its firmly established comfort zone.

While the construction of each song is not formulaic, they employ similar techniques throughout, such as the drum’s style, incorporation of the banjo and hand claps, and the cheerful tempo of each song. These details make Up, On & Over charming, but Bronze Radio Return doesn’t seem to be taking many risks.

“Gilded Lily” is one of the more intriguing tracks on Up, On & Over. This track evokes a different type of drama than listeners can find on the rest of the album;  the banjo and percussion create a strong bluegrass vibe. The guitar picks that open the song create an eerie feel, and the track’s structure is distinct with changes in instrumentation.

The song “Rather Never Know” is particularly catchy. The music itself features the piano more noticeably. It also has the same peppy, positive beat found in folky pop, as heard on the album’s first single, “Further On,” but is embodied in a different fashion that is less common for the genre.

Bronze Radio Return distinguishes itself by experimenting at times with what might be considered conflicting sounds.

One of the most interesting aspects of Up, On & Over is the relationship between the banjo and electric guitar throughout the album, because they are juxtaposed, yet harmonious.

“As Soon As I Fall” is a stark contrast  to the book-ending tracks “All In” and “World Spin” because of the intense electric guitar being in the spotlight instead of the airy banjo. Even though “As Soon As I Fall” has a stronger rock influence, it does not feel out of place.

The lyrics throughout Up, On & Over tend to be nondescript, yet connect very deeply with a given emotion, as heard on “Thick and Thin,” with the chorus, “Hold on tight/It’s up around the bend/Before we arrive let’s pretend/And with all my might I’ll keep walls from caving in/Now, and always been/Through times thick and thin.” The song “Melting In My Icebox” is a strange, yet clever way of addressing how everything slips away and exploring the ethereal quality of life’s best moments. These lyrics sound genuine and original.

In contrast, the track “All In” opens with the line, “I’m going to take these rocks and turn ‘em into diamonds/Sell ‘em on the corner/Bring the money home to you/I work all day and set aside my pride,” and embodies the not-so-genuine side of Up, On & Over.These lyrics about trying to work and provide, which exhibit textbook nostalgia, are paired with a stompy, harmonica-infused rhythm, making Bronze Radio Return seem like it’s trying too hard to mirror a particular folk type.

A large part of the album’s appeal is the danceability of most of its tracks. Up, On & Over is a pleasant listen—the kind of album that’s perfect for zoning out and cruising on a summer road trip. However, it sounds like almost any other folk-pop, and needs something to set it apart.

Bronze Radio Return – Up, On & Over tracklist:

  1. “Up, On & Over”
  2. “Mister Mister”
  3. “Further On”
  4. “Rather Never Know”
  5. “Melting In My Icebox”
  6. “All In”
  7. “As Soon As I Fall”
  8. “World Spin”
  9. “Thick and Thin”
  10. “Middle Of The Road”
  11. “Up Above Down Below”
  12. “Gilded Lily”
  13. “Sylvan”
  14. “Everybody Parade”
  15. “Stop and Pose”