Boris Grim and Bratya Grim have been making music in their native Russian language for almost seventeen years. This year, however, marks their first time singing in English. In Russia, Boris Grim and Bratya Grim are extremely successful, and have been since their 2005 eponymous album. Their music can be most comparable to a Russian version of the Goo Goo Dolls, as it has a very generic, late 90s rock quality to it. Their newest song and first take on English-singing, “The Other Half of My Soul,” is a quaint, lo-fi tune, which is very different from their previous efforts.
“The Other Half of My Soul” first starts off like an amateur, lower quality Sufjan Stevens or a track that José Gonzalez could’ve, and probably has, written. The beginning of the song is very promising as it equates moods of love and devotion. Boris Burdaev, the lead singer, blends his vocals very delicately alongside his other band members, as they pluck away on their acoustic guitars. It’s a very soft, sentimental tune that can easily get stuck in your head.
However, the track, set at a little over four minutes, probably would’ve had more power if it were shorter. The sweet and sugary tune, once prolonged, begins to burn a little to where it borders on coming off as overdone. It’s a fragile song, that shows itself withering by the end. In fact, Burdaev’s pacing near the end of the song shows the lack of stamina and ability to keep the same delicacy throughout. Also, the simple plucking of the guitars can sometimes work and come off as cutesy and near, but it can also come off as shoddy and not as polished as it could be.
Although the lo-fi quality, to me, gives the song a breath of soft air and texturizes it, the low mixing of the vocals, combined with the lack of pronunciation makes the lyrics hard to understand fully. With a song as quaint and easy-listening as “The Other Half of My Soul,” is, hearing the lyrics is a huge part of what can make the song profound. Instead, it tends to hide behind itself, instead of opening itself up to the world.
“The Other Half of My Soul” is a solid attempt by Boris Grim and Bratya Grim to translate their music through English singing, and it could easily be used at the end of a cute rom-com. However, Boris Grim and Bratya Grim probably won’t win over many English hearts with “The Other Half of My Soul.”