Monday, February 26, 2024

Brave Rival on Thin Ice

Portsmouth-based Brave Rival is a five-piece band with a bit of a difference. Not only do they incorporate rock, blues, and soul into their music, but they’re led from the front by two female vocalists in Lindsey Bonnick and Chloe Josephine.

Nominated for Best Emerging Blues Artist Of The Year for this year’s UK Blues Awards, their debut album, Life’s Machine, was released earlier this year, and they’ve just released their latest single from it, with ‘Thin Ice‘.

“’Thin Ice’ is another classic Ed ‘The Shred’ Clarke riff”, declared Brave Rival’s bass player Billy Dedman. “I’ll never forget when I first heard that riff. I was out walking on a particularly frosty morning when Ed sent a demo through to us. The riff immediately caught my attention. As I was messing about on this massive iced over puddle, inspiration hit, and I suggested we call this demo Thin Ice. The girls ran with that idea and wrote a song all about a loved one pushing one too many buttons!”

You can check out the offical video for ‘Thin Ice’ here at RAMzine and it is available here.

The Life’s Machine album was recorded in the picturesque Surrey countryside at The Mayfair Studio, the band enlisted up-and-coming record producer and engineer Tarrant Shepherd, who cut his teeth with Brit Award winning producer Greg Haver and award- winning multi-platinum producer and engineer Clint Murphy. 

For Tarrant, this was his first professional album under his own stewardship, and he left nothing on the table. This team was a match made in heaven, and one that was a long time in the making.

Originally scheduled for a spring 2020 recording session, Life’s Machine was unceremoniously put on hold due to the covid global pandemic. A situation that stung all the harder for Brave Rival as the first lockdown occurred mere weeks after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised the funding to record.

Undeterred by the social distancing measures forcing the band to stay at home, Brave Rival took to technology to continue writing songs (many of these are featured on Life’s Machine). 

“We didn’t want to just give up and hide away,” said co-lead vocalist Chloe Josephine. “We wanted to keep the momentum going and keep ourselves from going crazy whilst stuck at home. We would have regular Zoom calls as a band to work on song ideas. Our guitarist, Ed, came up with a guitar riff that he would record at home, then our bassist, Billy Dedman, or our drummer, Donna Peters, would record their parts at home and the song would grow organically.”

The additional year ended up being time well spent as it allowed the band to fine tune their craft, writing upwards of 50 songs, ultimately allowing them to select the best stand out songs for the 12-track album.

“It was important for us to ensure every song deserved to be on the album,” stated the band’s bass guitarist Billy Dedman. “We wanted each song to be a true representation of us and our sound. This demanded the best performances from each of us and the best production. Joining forces with Tarrant really was the greatest decision we made as it allowed us to achieve both of those goals”.

For their debut album, Brave Rival also collaborated with external musicians to bring their songs to life. For example, on Hammond organ and keyboards, they brought in Jonny Henderson (Ian Siegal, Matt Schofield, Elles Bailey).

“I was absolutely blown away by what Jonny brought to certain tracks,” said co-lead vocalist Lindsey Bonnick. “We let him do his thing with songs such as ‘Heart Attack’, ‘Guilty Love’ and ‘Without You’, I just couldn’t imagine them now without his signature flair!”

Brave Rival photo by Rob Blackham.

For the title track of the album, ‘Life’s Machine’, the band required a bit of melancholy drama and found it in the form of a grand piano at 13 Sound Studios, Somerset. “Ian Shepherd was entrusted with adding his emotive playing and style to the title track as well as the album closer, ‘Long Time Coming’. The extra layers on top really made the songs come alive for us” enthused the band’s guitarist Ed Clarke. 

And finally, to round out the album, Brave Rival turned to the abundance of talent on the Portsmouth blues and soul scene. Chloe and Lindsey, together with six soul and gospel singers, created the Bravian Choir. Their parts were performed and recorded at St Mary’s Church in Portsmouth and the results have been described as epic. “The sustain and natural reverb in the church was insane. I had goose bumps whilst watching them sing,” recalled Brave Rivals drummer Donna Peters, “After hearing the songs with the choir mixed in, I started tearing up! It made the songs so beautiful.”

With all the elements recorded and mixed, it was time to turn their sights on mastering. Brave Rival knew they wanted someone with the right kind of energy and found it with Katie Tavini (Ash, We Are Scientists, Nahli). “What attracted us to Katie, was her impressive work ethic and back catalogue for such a young age but equally, Brave Rival is all about female empowerment, therefore, it was important for us to work with other female professionals in a male dominated industry” remarked Chloe. “We are so happy to have found Katie, her final touches to our album completely blew us all away!” 

Tracks featured on Life’s Machine are: ‘Heart Attack’, ‘Guilty Love’, ‘Without You’, ‘Run And Hide’, ‘Come Down’, ‘What’s Your Name Again?’, ‘Secrets’, ‘Long Time Coming’, ‘Thin Ice’. ‘Fool Of You’, ‘Break Me’ and ‘Life’s Machine’.

You can pre-order the album by clicking here.

Previously, the band released ‘Guilty Love’ as their debut single, available here, and that was followed by ‘Heart Attack, that you can purchase here – “Heart Attack is a raucous rock belter that came from our guitarist’s crunchy guitar riff,” said Bonnick. “It was one of the first songs we wrote when our guitarist Ed Clarke joined the band. For the bridge we took inspiration from Pink Floyd to make it atmospheric with the heart beats and vocal harmonies. Johnny Henderson’s Hammond adds to the huge sound.”

You can also check out the videos to thosesingles here at RAMzine.


14/07/2022 – The Beaverwood, Chislehurst
31/07/2022 – Uckfield Blues and Roots Festival 2022
05/08/2022 – Jolly Sailor – Southsea
16/09/2022 – Cheese and Grain – Frome (supporting Laurence Jones)
07/10/2022 – The 1865 – Southampton (Supporting Laurence Jones)
05/11/2022 – Coolham Music Club (Supporting Catfish)
11/11/2022 – Hallelujah Festival – Hartlepool
13/11/2022 – The Musician – Leicester
15/11/2022 – The 100 Club – London (Supporting Corky Laing)
16/11/2022 – The Bullingdon – Oxford (Supporting Corky Laing)
19/11/2022 – Parish Hall – Sedgefield (Supporting Corky Laing)
20/11/2022 – Whitby Blues Festival – Whitby

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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