(Two Sheds Music) Love Don’t Stop, the debut from Mandy Branch’s ethereal Secret Europeans project, meanders through 10 tracks of mellowed-out piano and stratospheric vocals. The album is awash in synth-y background tracks and looped melodies. While there are a few musically unique points, the songs flow seamlessly together, each one following a similarly circuitous pattern.
On first listen, the record is a whimsical fairytale, complete with sing-song repetition. When one learns that Love Don’t Stop is a tribute to Branch’s recently deceased father, it plays out differently. The mood throughout is that of a melancholy lullaby, befitting the concept of parental loss. “Go About Your Business” captures the quiet monotony of grieving a loved one: “Mama’s still in mourning/ Not while on the phone/ Gonna sort the laundry/ Pretend you are not gone.”
The album ends with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” an interesting choice given the overarching theme. Branch’s spacy, distant rendition gives Love Don’t Stop an unfinished feel, leaving this listener slightly unsatisfied.