What was once the project labeled Little Brother is now more simply John Floreani. The unmasking of his pseudonym, in fact, serves as a nice metaphor for the way Floreani opens up on his debut album ‘sin’, evoking a pure sense of real life and the triumphs and tribulations that come with it.
The first thing that you’ll notice is just how far Floreani has come vocally over the years – a glance back to his early Little Brother days would find him semi-screaming harsh cut vocals as his cleans like hardcore acoustic songs. After five years, this is a far different, and improved version of the singer/songwriter, one that has grown a hell of a lot musically.
The stomping kick and flickering acoustic riff of ‘Oh Brother’ opens the album with a heartfelt ode to a struggling relationship, juxtaposing a sombre topic with an upbeat tone.
Arguably, Floreani‘s most characteristic and natural trait is his ability to convey the realities of life through stories or personal anecdotes. It’s something that Trophy Eyes – his main project – have benefited from no end over their past few releases, and it serves as the bedrock for ‘sin’ too, with apt themes of confession, reflection, and honesty fitting the mould of the record’s religious title.
That said, the best thing about this record is its ability to surprise. Some may be guilty of thinking the record would follow down a slow, ploddy acoustic route, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, country-style acoustics feature heavily, but Floreani‘s use of soundscapes is wildly explorative, from the blend of electronics and church bells over the nicely pop-centric ‘Don’t Wait Up’, the swelling synth patterns in the chorus to single ‘Echoes’, the staccato string movement that’s reminiscent of The Verve‘s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ on the bouncy ‘Cocaine’, or the 80s-tinged feel to the infectious ‘Ugly Love’. There’s never a moment that you truly know what’s coming next, and when it does, it doesn’t ever feel out of place
When band members take the partial switch to solo music, it can often feel quite repetitive and fairly lacklustre in comparison to their parent band, but Floreani is far from those tropes on ‘sin’. Inventive, passionate, and thoroughly engaging, his debut is a sonic journey through the rollercoaster that is life, sometimes with hands held high in celebration, and at other times wanting to escape the falls.