Speaking on behalf of the multilayered, complex, and yet quintessential “Providence sound,” New England native Brian Folan AKA Brian 4 Ever says “Providence tends to pump out bands that end up fizzling out or end up getting really big and moving away (from Providence).” This is true, and as much as we can and should congratulate those acts for moving on and pursuing their dreams, we forget some of the most amazing acts that have just emerged. Brian 4 Ever, poet/singer/songwriter/motivational speaker, collaborating with Amanda Burgess on accordion, is creating music that will make your ears perk up and your heart beat, creating a strange but relatable soundtrack to your life on the East Coast, Brian and Amanda are a dynamic duo. If you haven’t seen them perform live, you need to. Perhaps, your life will make a little more sense afterward.
Lyrically heavy and poetically indebted, on his 2014 release of Sole Bellow, Folan sings of love, existentialism, suppressed memory, pop culture, and death. Blending altrock, noise, and hardcore poetry, on the fourth track he cries a laundry list of issues and then upon some self-realization/editing, leading into a rousing chorus, sings, “…this is way too cathartic, not enough rock ‘n’ roll, you wanted an anthem, oh-kay…” Utilizing every and any instrument at his disposal (i.e. vox, keyboard, guitar, sax, drums), and with the addition of Burgess on accordion, Folan paints pictures with pained breaths and incites cliffhangers with brief pauses. The tonal qualities of Burgess’ accordion are pushed, lending their dramatic notes to the overall story line of Folan’s lyrics. Although Folan is responsible for the initial ‘Brian 4 Ever’ project, in many ways it has become a joint effort.
Take for example their live performances where Burgess, tongue-in-cheekily, announces her fake company Computer Computer Paper’s award ceremony for good employees, (the audience), and staff retreats where a crazed, occasionally-accented, oil tycoon/motivational speaker, (Folan), comes out wearing a cowboy hat and shouts random aphorisms for productivity into a probably confused crowd. Then after his “lecture” is over and the giant, scribbled-on notepad is torn apart, Folan begins to sing. It’s part theater and an introduction into Folan’s music; you don’t have to get the jokes to enjoy the music, it’s only a plus. The point is is that they’re massively entertaining and they’d like to see you at their next event. You should go.
Folan’s latest endeavors can be heard exclusively through the Brian 4 Ever Bandcamp. The April 2015 release of his digital album entitled Jacob 4 Ever is devoted to friend and AS220 Live Arts director, Jacob Nathan. Folan has a penchant for friend-based song titles with ‘Brown Town (A Song for Erik Brown)’ off of his 2013 debut Self Worthand “Victoria Ruiz” of Downtown Boys/Malportado Kids fame. Friends are important to Folan as is the issue of money or lack thereof, which is currently being addressed abstractly at AS220’s Resident Gallery in Providence, in his one-man mixed media show “$$$$$$$$$$” until the end of the month. Burgess has her own show to follow in June.
Also take a listen to Brian 4 Ever’s acoustic version of ‘Control’ on Soundcloud, which is just as good, if not better than the original: