How It Works by Old Sea Brigade: a mellow, indie rumination on accepting change

The newest release from Nashville-based musician Old Sea Brigade sounds like the soundtrack to staring out the window on a road trip; it’s wistful and soothing, but with a rugged emotional kick.

The track begins with ruminating guitars and frontperson Ben Cramer’s soft yet driving voice, before sparkles of tambourine and soaring riffs kick off in the chorus, maintaining the perfect balance of meditative and soul-searching.

The soft indie rock with a country/folk twang, with nods to these influences in the accompanying video depicting the scorched Mojave desert and cowboy outfits, is the perfect vessel for the introspective lyrics. These were inspired by a particular encounter with the music industry, with Cramer explaining “there’s sometimes this false narrative that there are certain ‘gatekeepers’ that dictate artists careers. It can be a fairly toxic notion, especially when you’re trying to get your foot in the door as a young artist. I got an email once from some music industry person telling me, ‘that’s how it works.’ That email, particularly the line, sparked the idea for the song.”

The subject matter goes beyond the specifics of this incident though, musing on the difficult task of accepting change (“you only know it’s leaving when it goes/that’s just how it works”) with a universal and solemn serenity. Cramer’s voice remains lullaby-like throughout, softening these hard truths with a mellow yet textured warmth.

With Cramer describing ‘How It Works’ as the “missing piece” for the upcoming full-length, due out in 2021, the track is a contemplative and exciting taster of things to come from Old Sea Brigade.

Old Sea Brigade

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Find How It Works and more soothing indie tunes on our Lazy Indie Morning playlist 🙂

Leonie Bellini
the authorLeonie Bellini
Leonie Bellini (she/they) is a Fine Art student from London UK, currently living in Newcastle. She loves cheap corner-shop beer, listening to ‘Pristine’ by Snail Mail on repeat, and is dedicated to writing about culture, with a particular interest in platforming womxn and queer musicians and artists. Appearing in a number of publications including Grrrl Zine, The Newcastle Courier, and Drawn Poorly, she can be found on Instagram and Twitter @teenpeachmovie.


  • Very serene tune. Reminds me of the stuff I’d hear growing up, listening to local alternative radio with my old man!

  • My favorite part of this song is the guitar riffs. They are pretty solid and original. The vocals are good and the hook is not too catchy but it’s not boring. It finds an encouraging middle ground between the two during the chorus and the verses have a kind of laid back delivery that matches the overall careful treading atmosphere of the song.
    The sound overall is really good.

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