Album Review: “All Around Us” – Briana Marela

The record welcomes you with the opening track “Follow It.” It bounces playfully between your ears and beckons you to listen to Briana Marela’s new record, All Around Us. The abrupt ending of “Follow It” leaves you unsatisfied with just one track and before you know it, you’ve listened to the entire album. All Around Us, Briana’s second album, is a collection of pieces crafted by Seattle-native, Briana Marela and produced/recorded by Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers, in Reykjavic, Iceland.

Briana Marela’s musical style has changed drastically since she first picked up an acoustic guitar in high school. Upon leaving Seattle to go to college in Olympia, she turned her musical focus to music technology, audio alterations and more experimental ways of producing interesting sounds that can complement music. Her naturally embedded ability to write music inspired by the misty wilderness of the northwest and the people who live there combined with her education in sound technology and production come together flawlessly in this record. All Around Us is named after a children’s book, each track a picture of her life from the start of her musical career back in 2012 to present.

“Take Care of Me” picks you up gently after the abrupt ending of the opening track, “Follow It.” It is a favorite of mine on this record. The tenderness of this song, appeals to me or anyone who has a delicate heart:

You take care of me like I’m the only one,

You take care of me like I’m someone that matters

“Take Care of Me” is a sweet and honest song about the beauty of true friendships.

“Dani” is the first track on the record to slow the pace. Each song prior to it is upbeat, swinging but “Dani” forces the listener to take a step back. The rich strings are woven through this track, push a level of sadness that is picked back up by the chorus. Despite the melancholy melody of “Dani”, the lyrics are uplifting:

Dani, you’re not the only one lonely, tonight.

You’re strong if you remember to lift what weighs you down and escape.

 At first listen, I thought “Dani” was only a sad song, one that was difficult for me to listen to if I was feeling down. But, after spending more time with it, I understand what it’s about and it is beautiful.

All Around Us is speckled with other sonic gems like “Surrender”, the first track Briana used vocal looping on in her career, and “All Around Us”, a song written about someone who left her life abruptly, before she could say goodbye.

The closing track, “Further”, is a 7 minute journey through the wet and foggy woods of the Northwest. Her airy vocals sound like fresh, cool air, echoing in the cathedral of your mind. “Further” is a masterpiece that brings the record to an epically exquisite close.

All Around Us is out now on Jagjaguwar.

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