There is a lot of lush muscle tempered by a subdued warm undertow to this sweeping and impressive third album from The Barr Brothers.
Eighteen months in the making, it is stylish, thoughtful, sensitive yet commanding, open but tinged with fragile edgings and played with unhurried care without deviation.
Longest track of the eleven, You Would Have To Lose Your Mind, is terrific: a pounding drum and relentlessly solid bass grounds a musical carpet of meandering War on Drugs-like dreaminess while the title track that follows it is hearty and airy. With chiming guitars and echoing vocals the brothers impishly reflect on their days as teenagers larking around with their mates at The Breakers, the famed mansion built by the Vanderbilts at Newport, in their boyhood home of Rhode Island.
Song That I Heard leaks unconsciously into The Low Anthem territory with its gentle, refined alt/folk earthiness: all hushed and magnificent with horns embellishing its conclusion. The brooding Kompromat seeps out moodily with exceptional bass from Brad and Andrew on drums throughout its multi-layered excellence.
With the uplifting harp of third band member, Sarah Page? adding deliciously sensitive tones the overall sound of this album is assured. Sarah's delivery helps the Canada-based brothers alter the pace and depth of the tracks with confidence, at the same time confirming their studio craftsmanship and performance capabilities.
Rocking stomper It Came To Me is one that Robert Plant wouldn't mind nicking and the tempered warmth of Hideous Glorious shows a talented band pushing on confidently and engagingly. Ready For War, the final track, is bold and elegant and it makes you wonder where they will head next time round.
The brothers joked in the run-up to release day that they made the record "using only pencil shavings and squirrel tails." But, in reality, they've been a whole lot more creative than that - and the end result is sometimes exquisite and overall hugely appealing.
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