Release Date: September 27, 2011
Secret City Records; 10 tracks
Review by: Lucas Samuels
The Barr Brothers debut LP is a true testament to the "do it yourself" artistic style that is so deeply embedded in Montreal's current independent music scene.
The record itself was born in the most organic of ways, with the band never really intending to make an album in the traditional sense. Rather, the recording process was simply an outlet for singer/guitarist Brad Barr, a prolific songwriter and gifted guitarist who truly just needed a place to keep his songs. A chance encounter with a neighbor who happened to play harp lead to Sarah Page's inclusion in the band and naturally, brother Andrew took his place on the drums, recording with Brad as they've done throughout their storied musical career.
The album often finds the avant-folk foursome weaving tapestries of ambient noises behind crisp guitar and harp strings, as is the case on the heart-tugging opening track "Beggar In The Morning" and the delicately layered "Held My Head". But the Brothers don't just play songs to toy with your emotions. They also know how to bust your gut will blues-fueled stompers. "Lord, I Just Can't Keep From Cryin'" has all the power and grittiness of good Southern blues, while "Give The Devil Back His Heart" and "Deacon's Son" have deep African influences.
Not only are the sounds on the record diverse, the guest appearances are too. The Low Anthem's Jocie Adams lends her soothing clarinet work to the soft lullaby that is "Cloud", and Land of Talk’s Lizzie Powell and folk-troubadour Nathan Moore provide vocals on "The Devil's Harp". Listen closely for Elvis Perkins' smooth vocals, as he's on the record too.
Rich in production, instrumental prowess, clever lyrics and guests, The Barr Brothers' self-titled record is about as strong as a debut release gets. So, it comes as no surprise that brothers Brad and Andrew have quickly cemented themselves as fixtures of the Montreal music scene, and with the release of this album on September 27, they'll soon be the talk of the independent music scene as a whole.
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Music: Beggar In The Morning
Video: Lord I Just Can't Keep From Cryin'