[one_half last=”no”]
The Barr Brothers - 'Sleeping Operator' Cover

[one_half last=”yes”]THE BARR BROTHERS
Sleeping Operator

Release-Date: 07.10.2014
Label: Secret City Records

01. Static Orphans
02. Love Ain’t Enough
03. Wolves
04. Even the Darkness Has Arms
05. Come in the Water
06. Little Lover
07. How the Heroine Dies
08. Valhallas
09. Half Crazy
10. Bring Me Your Love
11. England
12. The Bear at the Window
13. Please Let Me Let it Go

NBHAP Rating: 3/5


Worlds Away from Folk

Opening their album with an Oriental-influenced harmony, the intro sets the tone for this engaging work. Never fearful to try new things, THE BARR BROTHERS’s second album keenly looks out from their native Canadian influences into a worldly mix of sounds. However, as their cross-cultural intro moves smoothly into the main body of work, the band partially reverts to indie, slow beats and mellow vocals. Although they’ve retained their desire to push at the instrumental boundaries afforded to folk, THE BARR BROTHERS are sadly less keen to experiment than on their debut. With no track like Give the Devil Back His Heart or Deacon’s Head on this new album, the group lack the variety that drew so many to their first. Comfortable in their fusion of classical harps and bluesy chords, Sleeping Operator demonstrates a band focussing on the most appealing notes from their last album and not trying new ideas.

A Quirky Quartet

Keen to give every instrument certain individuality and prominence, there is a danger that the group might lose a harmony between the parts. A true quartet, for the most part, each sound complements the others. Even the folky vocals fittingly slip in beside the intriguing inclusions of harps and vibes. At their best, the quartet confidently employs their most interesting instruments; however, on certain tracks, they’re too given over to some of the folk genre’s drawbacks, such as repetitive fingerpicking guitar, which overwhelm the more unique parts of their sound.

Second Time Unlucky?

The band is clearly still eager to deviate from the stock set afforded to folk musicians and still experimenting with genre. However, although starting with the remaining, boundary-pushing ideas of the best tracks from their debut, THE BARR BROTHERS deny this new album any real chance to grow on their last one. While still an interesting and original work, listeners will be sure to note that the quartet rejected further experimentation in favour of a more focussed, harmonious record.

‘Sleeping Operator’, the second album of Canadian folk band THE BARR BROTHERS might expand their sound a bit, but lacks the joyful experiments of the debut.