"I’m very lucky to have him as my guitar-playing partner in crime" – Lonely The Brave's Mark Trotter and Ross Smithwick choose their guitar highlights from the band's back catalogue

Lonely The Brave
(Image credit: Thomas White @ Black Rock Creative)

Lonely The Brave's new album What We Do To Feel is another strong statement for a band that stands alone in alternative rock; sonically drawing from post-rock and cinematic scores with arena-sized open-hearted emotional waves, they weave unpredictable and stirring melodies. It's music to lose yourself in but find hope through too, and this latest body of work creates the deepest well for it yet.

As guitarists, founding member Mark Trotter and bandmate Ross Smithwick – who joined for second album Things Will Matter – ebb and flow with each other supportively but there are no firm lead / rhythm roles here. And when they choose each other's highlights from the new album and their back catalogue here it comes from a place of mutual inspiration and creative admiration. 

What If You Fall In – Things Will Matter (2016)

Ross: "I love it when Mark comes with a great chord progression as normally I find it incredibly natural to fit something around it that sounds cool. The fingerpicked verses of this song sound so clean but also really drive the song which is beautiful sounding and urgent all at once. I also love it when we play this live as we always play is much faster and he has to really get those fingers moving!"

Science – The Day's War (Victory Edition, 2015)

Eventide and The Lens – What We Do To Feel (2023)

Ross: "I’ve put these two together as they both highlight how Mark's mind can work when it comes to interesting lead parts over simple chorus progressions giving another melody as well as the main vocal. 

"Both are little earworms and although aren’t hugely loud in the mix, they prick your ears up which you might not even hear on first listen which gives the songs a lot of depth. He approaches this kind of stuff in a way I wouldn’t even think of which is always surprising and brilliant to me."

Diamond Days (Things Will Matter, 2016)

Mark: "This is a great example of how Ross’s brilliantly subtle, beautiful playing compliments and intertwines with my own to create a texture where it’s difficult to distinguish the two apart. Understated, purposeful, just great." 

Jaws Of Hell – Things Will Matter, 2016

Ross: "Moody af. What haunting, beautiful and emotive guitar work Mark wrote here. Each section of the song flows effortlessly into each other. 

There are three movements in this song, all coming from Mark's chord progressions which are incredibly moving to me

"There are three movements in this song, all coming from Mark's chord progressions which are incredibly moving to me. Songs like this are great for me to kind of stay in the background and add layers of texture making sure I don’t take anything away from what Mark is doing.

The Bear – What We Do To Feel, 2023 

Ross has such a brilliant touch which provides effortlessly dynamic playing

Mark: "Pure menace. The only way to describe Ross’s rhythm playing throughout The Bear. My favourite track from our new album. The space, the tension, the tone. A perfect performance.

"Ross has such a brilliant touch which provides effortlessly dynamic playing. I’m very lucky to have him as my guitar-playing partner in crime."

Keeper – The Hope List (2021)

Ross: "The first song we wrote when we got back together once Jack [Bennett, vocals] had joined the band. Very simple but very good. Subtle but driving. 

"In particular it’s the middle section after the second chorus that gets me every time with what Mark plays. It’s a lead line and it’s a textual layer which isn’t easy to do. It then weaves into a lovely melody which is just classic Trotter."

The Harrow – The Hope List (2021)

Mark: Ross’s clean guitar melody provides the bedrock to this song and was the genesis of the track. Although clean and fingerpicked for the most part, the rhythm is constantly pushed and provides tension and urgency. 

"Ross’s guitar was the foundation that everything else was layered across. My favourite track from the record."

Backroads – The Day's War (2014)

Ross: "This has to be top of the list. It’s not easy these days, but Mark's main guitar line in this song is a modern classic. 

It’s amazing how just a single riff can be so emotional

"From the moment you hear those first notes you know what song it is and when it kicks into the main guitar line it’s spine-tinglingly special. It’s amazing how just a single riff can be so emotional and I see it in the faces of the crowd every single time we play it live."

Long Way – What We Do To Feel (2023)

Mark: "The melody that floats across the track is Ross at his free-flowing best. I love this part! It’s pure joy and beauty and melancholy and everything that’s good about music."

  • What We Do To Feel is out now on Easy Life Records. Lonely The Brave tour the UK in February 2024. More info at lonelythebrave.com
Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.