One Less Reason – The Memories Uninvited
Label: Tattooed Millionaire
Release Date: August 19, 2016
In an era of generic, cookie cutter rock bands, Tennessee’s One Less Reason has always set itself apart with the dynamic emotional depth of its songwriting. Vocalist and founder Cris Brown is a man who only knows how to write from his heart, and he wears that for the world to hear on The Memories Uninvited. This is the band’s sixth release, and the first full-length release since 2010’s Faces and Four Letter Words. Brown has hinted that this could be the band’s last record. If that is the case, he has left it all on the table with this album.
One Less Reason took its time making The Memories Uninvited. Brown has stated it is an album five years in the making. He admits he does not write happy songs, and the last few years he has been a happy man with a wonderfully fulfilling life, leaving him little to write about. It took a while to create, but the wait has paid off.
The album opens with the first video-single, “Break Me”. The song packs an immediate punch with muscular guitars and heavy rhythms. Brown’s gritty and emotive vocals add a sense of dark angst. The chorus hits with a huge hook that lingers long after the song ends. Brown’s pre-chorus and fade out screams add intensity to the track.
The tone lightens for the uplifting “Something Beautiful” with its intoxicating chorus. The keyboards backstop the song like orchestral strings adding depth and drama. That cinematic vibe carries over into the emotive ballad, “Sometimes”. Brown’s plaintive vocals keep every track grounded to feelings the songs evoke.
The tempo picks back up on the edgy “Where Were You”: Anguish and acrimony permeate the song. The band then gets a little vibey on the haunting yet hopeful, “Time”. This is followed by the radio-friendly rocker, “The Trade” which has something of a rolling and bouncy groove to it.
Brown shared, in a recent interview, that the slow-burn ballad, “One Day” is a song he’d had kicking around for about seven years that he was not entirely happy with. A friend convinced him to dust it off and finish it. A good call on his part as it lives and breathes here as one of the record’s most infectious and poignant moments. The piano gives the song a somewhat solemn feel.
The album’s final four tracks continue in a similar vein, tapping into the listener’s emotions through Brown’s visceral melodies and personal lyrics. “On the Way Down” somehow balances despair with hope and resilience. “The Lie” has something of a Shinedown vibe to the chorus, while the verses are almost melancholy, a feel that carries over into apology left unspoken; “You Didn’t Know”.
The album closes out with the moody and reflective acoustic number, “Rainmaker”. Brown delves into breathy whispers in places here and it is these nuances that add incredible weight to this record.
One Less Reason takes the listener through an array of emotions on The Memories Uninvited, from hope and love to bitterness, anger, and despair. Brown once again shines with the versatility in his voice and his songwriting. Eschewing the idea of pandering to labels, One Less Reason has created a record that reflects who they are rather than what some label schlub thinks they should be. If The Memories Uninvited turns out to be Cris Brown’s final offering to One Less Reason fans, they have gone out with heads held high with a collection of songs that showcase the depth and character of their abilities.