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‘Manifest’ review: LI’s Brett Gleason is a true original

Huntington native Brett Gleason's new album is

Huntington native Brett Gleason's new album is "Manifest." Photo Credit: Brett Gleason

Brett Gleason is a true original.

Throughout his new album, “Manifest” (Brett Gleason), the Huntington native tries out different approaches to his particular brand of piano-driven indie rock.

In “Rough Love,” he bounces back and forth between menacing rock verses and a sweet-sounding chorus where he declares, “I’ll break your heart so I can put it back together.”

Sometimes, Gleason sounds radio-ready, especially on the clever rock of “Humane,” where he seems to be updating the melodic drama of Live’s Ed Kowalczyk in his harmonies and delivery, and “Do You Know?,” which starts out as a simple, jangling ballad, but grows increasingly complex. Sometimes, Gleason sounds like he never wants to leave his experiments, like on the frantic “The Urge,” where his limited vocals are distorted and mixed against a bleating horn.

The lush single “Expiration Date” shows how Gleason is most successful when he tries to stretch the boundaries of a catchy rock song. It opens like a classic ’70s rocker, with simple, plaintive language, but between the string section flourishes and his pointed phrasing, Gleason sharpens the song’s edges, creating a sound all his own.

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