Pennan Brae – Zulu

Pennan Brae of Vancouver, Canada, has been developing quite a huge back catalogue of music. We were introduced to Brae’s music with the song, Zulu, from his forthcoming 11th album.

We like the intro to this song. It straight away feels like the start of a cowboy movie (or perhaps the accompanying video swayed us). One way or another, Zulu moves quickly from a slow and “somethings-about-to-happen” start, straight into an all out rock n roll/rhythm and blues track that will get even the most unwilling of participants up on the dance floor.
There’s a punky feel to the guitars in this song, together with some very apparent early Rolling Stones influences. The vocals really intrigued us; almost whispering-like and a really cool idea. We’re not sure if this is Brae’s usual style but either way, it really works for this song.
The drums on this track are spot on for the genre. The kick is coming through nicely and there’s some masterful work happening on the hi-hat. The snare is lovely and bright too.
There’s some really great use of stereo and panning throughout Zulu and some great definition between sections to keep the listener involved right to the last note. Really good rise and fall.

We really like the female backing vocals – lots of “oohs” to make the track feel really authentic rock n roll and well placed and sitting well in the track.

Zulu has a lovely 1950s feel in places – especially the break down towards the end that has a wonderful build on the kick drum with some great female choir/gospel backing vocals building and building to an unpredictable ending that raised a few smiles here.

Perhaps consider a boost around 150Hz in the overall track for a little more warmth and to define the bass a little more, and a boost around 50Hz to give the kick a bit more “oomph”!
We’d suggest a three octave shelf in the top end to add a little more presence and overall brightness and air to the track. This will help bring out the spectacular hi-hat work and the sound of the snare wires.

For fans of the Rolling Stones and similar era artists, you simply can’t go wrong listening to this truly genuine rhythm and blues track that just oozes real class. Zulu feels like a song you’d put on the jukebox the moment you arrive at the diner! Lovely stuff. We hope to hear much more from Pennan Brae.