The Barr Brothers – Queens Of The Breakers (album review)

by Woody on November 27, 2017

Photo by Brigitte Henry

The Barr Brothers, comprised of Brad & Andrew Barr and Sarah Pagé, move the needle forward on their third LP. The trio tried something new on this one. Heading into the studio (i.e. snowy cabin) with nary a tune. These were long days. Nights turned into dawns and days turned to dusk as the band worked in inspirations from West Africa and India. They leaned heavier on the electric guitar, a staple in rock and liberally incorporated some new inventions by Pagé – humbuckers, Kleenex-box signal-splitters, hacks to make her harp into a versatile, sub-bass-booming noisemaker.

The album opens with the stunning Defibrillation, featuring the haunting vocals of Jess Wolfe & Holly Laessig. Andrew had spent a night in the hospital tending to his mom. There he became ensnared in two separate heart monitors; beating together, separate, weaving around each other like we do every day; highlighting how hard it is to make that permanent connection.

Kompromat has a Low Anthem covering Radiohead feel to it. The tune has a nice punch as Barr takes aim at the current state of his home country, the good ol’ US of A. “I think we’re in love with your abuse,” “You got one hand on the driver’s wheel / in the other a noose.” It Came To Me is another guitar-fueled tune that really highlights those West African influences on the riffs.

For me their second LP, Sleeping Operator, didn’t deliver the same wow that their debut did. In talking to other fans, I believe I’m in the minority. Either way, Queens Of The Breakers is getting it done for me.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Barr Brothers are here

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