The Brook :: Start Swimming

TheBrook-StartSwimmingTo follow up the great recent interview with Ottawa-based band, The Brook, here’s a review of their debut album, Start Swimming.

Kicking in with Nirvana-style bass, one is taken back by the smooth violin (Mark Rempel) and raspy vocals (Sarah Murphy), while the drums (Zac Delamont) run a steady thrum into a little lead lick (Shawn Leadston), breaking into the ‘Filthy’ chorus. Some sweet harmonies and the vibrant violin bring a beautiful cleanliness to the grit of the lyrics. Somber, but with enough kick to get one in the mood, ‘Filthy’ is a good introduction to the record.

Taking that clear East Coast influence from Rempel and Murphy, ‘Awkward Love’ touches the heartstrings in a wonderfully folksy way. The backing country licks really flavour the piece with a sort of mocking hope; upbeat, but clearly country in its bittersweet storytelling. Rempel’s silken strings continue to uplift and deflate the listener, as the lyrics dictate and Murphy rasps her story onward in earnest.

TheBrook3Leadston opens with some great picking before debuting his vocals on the record, whilst Delamont brushes him in. Great backing lines by Murphy don’t let down… at least ‘Not Today’, and playing overtop, of course, Rempel runs the bow. Some solid bass can be heard below: if only it were boosted to a fullness that would cradle the track and help push the point home lyrically: “Show me the way / I’ll fly high someday / but not today!”

A very soft guitar strum, with gentle taps in between, the song ‘Swings’ features Murphy’s somber, pure and raspy tones. A melancholic track of classic love and loss, with a maudlin harmonized chorus between Leadston and Murphy. At full vamp, this song hits the heart and searches out those holes we all have that have been left hollow and, unresolved, Murphy leaves us to “swing alone”.

As a debut album, this mix of folk and pensive punk makes a serious foray onto the scene with a few tight tracks. Reserved (and likely right in doing so) and concise, The Brook have shared only these four brief tracks. With plans to release a full version in the near future, keep your Wellies ready, and stay tuned for another run through The Brook.

For more on The Brook, visit their BandCamp page.

And be sure to read the interview with the band, right here.



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