Friday 23 September 2011



Old mythologies

QBiM SPiNS The Barr Brothers' self-titled debut

Their are records words just don’t do justice to, and I feel that way about The Barr Brothers‘ self-titled debut record.  Independently produced and released last year, The Barr brothers was recently picked up by Secret City Records and is being re-released on September 27, the same day as a slew of highly-anticipated releases.  It would be a shame for this record to be lost amidst the crush of these more high-profile records, especially considering that is the artistic equal of these albums, if not actually better.

“Slow burning” sometimes gets thrown around as an adjective a little too loosely, but it’s as apt a description for this 10 song affair as I’m likely to come up with.  There’s no overt theatrics or gimmicks to draw the listeners attention away from the songwriting, which is the true star of The Barr Brothers.  Everything about the performances serve the songs beautifully.  Opener “Beggar In The Morning” mixes the tension of the song with the passion of musicians clearly in love with what they do and what they’re making.  Its sets the tone for this very atmospheric and layered set of folk-rock songs.  There’s hints of Simon & Garfunkel in the seamless harmonizing of “Old Mythologies”,  and your eyes will get watery from smoky blues bar jam”Give The Devil Back His Heart”, but there’s always an organic, natural feel to what Brad (guitar, vox, keys) and Andrew (drums, percussion) Barr,  are making.  They are joined in the studio by live members Sarah Pagé (harp) and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial, as well as a number of guests, including Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk), new friends and acquaintances they’ve made since arriving in their adoptive home of Montreal (the brothers are from Boston originally, I believe).  With some artists, you can identify where they’re from based on their sound, but The Barr Brothers can’t be easily pinned to a map based on these songs: they are universal, timeless examples of great songwriting, and virtuoso playing.

It’s a shame that the original release of The Barr Brothers flew so far under the radar the first time around.  here’s hoping that this time out, they’ll get the attention and accolades they deserve.  When you head out to the shops on Tuesday to pick up those other records, be sure to swing by the “B” section and get this one, too.  You won’t be disappointed.

 
The Barr Brothers – “Beggar in the Morning”

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