Pittsburgh, Penn.,-based singer-songwriter Brooke Annibale's third album, Silence Worth Breaking, is a revelation. A little bit of everything, the record easily slides into the realms of pop, rock, folk, Americana and soul, and all the while, the progression between songs is organic rather than schizophrenic.
This album is thought-provoking without being pompous, and it's one of those rare albums whose content lives up to its title.
Lyrically, Annibale dodges the stereotypical singer-songwriter landmine of focusing solely on romantic relationships, instead broadening her landscape to include songs that communicate hard truths, like accepting the past and learning to stand up for yourself.
She paints one hell of a beautiful picture of a relationship with the natural metaphors she employs in her first single, "Yours and Mine," and the gritty and groovy "Bullseye" makes you pause when she sings lines like, "We're throwing darts in the dark / Trying to hit the bullseye / But nobody knows / What it looks like."
At 23 years old, Annibale's lyrics display an uncommon wisdom, and her observations about life--be it hers or someone else's--are spot-on.
Annibale not only wins points for insightful lyricism, but also for her subtle, yet attention-grabbing vocals. When she isn't channeling Natalie Merchant on the mid-tempo rocker, "The Way it Was," or walking into Brandi Carlile territory on the Americana-tinged, "I Believe," Annibale shines because of the smoky quality of her pipes. Songs like "Under Streetlights" are undeniably catchy, as much for their acoustic-ambient sound (this sucker will burrow into your mind and you won't want it to leave) as they are for Annibale's ability to stay within her range and still hit highs and lows when necessary. "Tryin'" is possibly the best song on the record, despite Annibale barely speaking above a whisper throughout the track. Her broken whispers juxtapose nicely with the powerful lyrical content.
The songs on Silence Worth Breaking are anything but empty, singer-songwriter musings. It's an album worth speaking up about.