Album Review: Nina's Brew, 'Don't Tell Mama' | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Album Review: Nina's Brew, 'Don't Tell Mama'


Nina's Brew, Don't Tell Mama
  • Nina's Brew, Don't Tell Mama

(Self-released, CD, digital download)

Context is important. For example, if you were to catch Queen City band Nina's Brew between a set of speed metal and, say, a psychedelic 10-piece at Nectar's, you could perhaps be forgiven for overlooking the folksy, acoustic-driven trio. Nice harmonies, you might think to yourself. A dude is banging on a box for percussion and it's working, that's cool. It's all very Burlington, you'd conclude just before ducking out after a few songs.

That's the beauty of striking when the mood is right. Don't Tell Mama, the debut EP from Nina's Brew, is a pleasant, intriguing listen that deserves to be experienced in its own space.

Front woman Giovanina Bucci's warm, intimate voice and assured songwriting leaps out from the first. The title track is a mournful, country-tinged number that finds the narrator, who has long since run away from home, encountering her sister. "Oh, Jenny, if you only knew / I've been broken since I left you," Bucci sings as bandmates Isaac French and Mike Brewster build emotional suspense with a shuffling beat, gentle piano and percussive guitar work.

Percussionist French thankfully has more than a box to beat. His talents shine on the EP, as do Brewster's on guitar. Additionally, the vocal harmonies the duo craft behind Bucci are sophisticated, clear and gorgeous.

Aside from a penchant for three-word song titles, Bucci has an eclectic nature as a songwriter, which her band ably mirrors. Nina's Brew move effortlessly between genres, from the country pop of "Walk You Home" to the bluesy, roots-rock jam "Loosen the Rope."

The difference between putting out a song that sounds like a thousand other songs and making a unique, memorable tune is often found in the arrangements. Nina's Brew don't reinvent the wheel in this regard, but they do mind the details. And those details — piano splashes and tasteful guitar runs, little pushes and beat changes — comprise the tiny, rich colors beneath the band's broader musical strokes.

That focus on the little things shouldn't be overlooked. It is a clear declaration of intent from a band that only just formed in 2017. Nina's Brew have a talented singer-songwriter and a style of music that's particularly well liked in this part of the country, and they play with professionalism. Don't Tell Mama is a good EP on its own, but it also serves as a primer for what we can expect from this band in the future.

Don't Tell Mama is available at Nina's Brew play Friday, June 1, at Elf's Farm Winery in Plattsburgh.