Review by Nick Manduley

September 17, 2020

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Asbury Park-based folk artist Brian Erickson will be releasing his new record Little Secrets on September 18th via Mint 400 Records. Erickson, who fronts local indie rock band The Extensions, infuses soaring pop synth tones with a twangy folk background on his new solo record.

The album opens with “Shore Towns,” which immediately shimmers with a bright acoustic guitar and cheerful piano chords. A folky snare march enters the mix as Erickson’s sublime vocals and harmonies float the track along. Anyone who lives on the shore will immediately see why this song is as titled; it conjures images of warm sunny days and the refreshing smell of the ocean air. “Shore Towns” makes me want to stop writing this review, grab my beach chair, and plant myself in the warm sand for the next several hours.

Shore Towns” is followed by “All That We Could Be,” which is a very unique track; it starts off as being completely driven by guitar and vocals, but then the track swells with with synthesizers that wouldn’t sound out of place on Owl City’s most notable works. “Hit or Miss” chugs along with similar themes, carried by Erickson’s captivating harmonies. “Another Unfinished Novel” features some trippy vocal distortions and catchy hooks.

The title track is undoubtedly the centerpiece of Little Secrets. The vocal melody is reminiscent of The Beatles’ songwriting style, with harmonies that could give somebody flashbacks to The Beach Boys’ heyday. “Little Secrets” feels like an homage to some of the classic artists that helped shape modern music, while at the same time making one yearn for a piña colada at the beach bar.

The album pushes into its second half with the pendulous rhythm of “Sleeping at Jesse’s House” before moving forward into “Left to Find.” This track offers some magnificent basslines and ventures well into indie rock territory. “Mall Madness” poses a folky, psychedelic identity that preludes the final two tracks on the album; the first of which, “Burning Bones,” feels like a return to the Beatles-inspired folk-pop songwriting seen on the title track. The final track, “Christmas in July,” combines modern pop melodies with the unique addition of thunderstorm sounds; this adds a soothing yet pensive quality to the track that isn’t present anywhere else on the record.

Little Secrets is an enjoyable entry into the realm of modern folk that draws on the influence of pop and indie rock. Brian Erickson has certainly poured his soul into these songs, and it seems his soul is with the warm shore towns (pun intended) that line the beautiful New Jersey coastline. The album will be available on all major streaming platforms on September 18th. Erickson will be hosting a virtual concert on the night of the album’s release, alongside fellow musician Devon Alana.

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