The Montreal band keeps on growing, musically and crowd-size speaking, as they release albums that are always better and stronger than the previous one. 10 years ago, they were a friendly indie folk combo in the local scene. Today, they are considered among Montreal’s greatest ambassadors on the international scene, with Patrick Watson and Half Moon Run. Yes, Arcade Fire are still in a class of their own, but the Barr Brothers are pretty much the new hip guys.

“Queens of the Breakers” is a strong album with lots of great moods. The record starts with Defibrillation, which features harmonies by Lucius, a song in The National’s style and continues with a smooth but dynamic folk song, Look Before it Changes, that sounds a bit like an acoustic version of Radiohead’s recent dreamy songs. The mood has been set.

 

After a third song that is still in the Appalachian folk tradition (Song That I Heard), the Barr Brothers take a more upbeat approach to Maybe Someday, that has a 60s feel through it, a bit à la Byrds or Buffalo Springfield. Then, things get way more intense with Kompromat, a haunting song where Brad’s broken voice brings tension over elegant strings, a bit like on Bob Dylan’s recent records.

This is the 3rd full-length album of the band led by Brad Barr (guitars, vocals) and his brother Andrew on drums – both born in Rhodes Island – with Montrealer Sarah Pagé on harp, who always brings a very nice classy touch to the brothers’ folk (You Would Have to Lose Your Mind).

 

The legend goes that they met because of Sarah’s harp work. “Soon after moving to Montreal, Brad heard the sounds of a harp through the bedroom wall of his new apartment. He went next door to introduce himself to Sarah Pagé, who was performing both in classical contexts and developing music with the songwriter Lhasa de Sela.” That is one great advantages to live in paper-thin walls of the Mile-End apartments!

This is one of the great albums of 2017, let alone one of the best Canadian records for a while, redefining the country’s musical landscape. These guys know how to handle a mood and write great songs. A must!

barr_bros

THE BARR BROTHERS
Queens of the Breakers
(Secret City, 2017)

-Genre: indie folk rock
-In the same style as The National, Patrick Watson, Daniel Lanois, Half Moon Run

Buy the album on Google Play
Follow the band via their Facebook page
Listen to videos on the label’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.