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Barry Brusseau

The Royal Violent Birds (vinyl album)

Review by Larry Toering

I didn’t know what to think of this at first, but it turns out Barry Brusseau is a fine folk artist from the NW, whose work I’m interested in exploring further. When I pulled the album out I was blown away by what I saw, and if you pick up a copy, you will be, too. It is a lovely black and while colored vinyl, with a nice understated cover. It also comes with a download code, which is more than one can really ask for these days. I’m impressed to say the least with the quality of music and packaging of this brilliant piece of work. Being a collector of vinyl I’m always up for anything from local garage bands to import picture discs. This comes highly recommended for anyone with or without that hobby. It’s a two in one value that way. This is a great outdoor set of tunes as well, perfect for spring walks with the earphone device, or just sitting around the fire on a cool evening.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Side A
Pig Frost
This is a very abstract opener, with a pretty frantic percussive pace, as opposed to most of the rest of the album. It’s an interesting start to an interestingly cool set.
Across The Fire
A more languid approach than this is hard to come by. Talk about a mellow treat, the backing track is extremely soothing, while a nice low register vocal delivers the melody. This really sets the tone for things to come, after a surprising opener.
Royal Violent Birds
The title track is a beautiful instrumental, with some soundscapes and other effects behind it. This is very hard not to play on repeat, as it pleases every time I hear it.
Love & Aderation
This is a combination of a few things already visited so far, but very abstract, as well. These tracks all have a revisiting quality to them, but some are just a bit harder to get into. This is not one of the latter for me.
Empty Head
This also contains some interesting guitar work, with not a lot of vocals to back it. Yet, the vocals somehow help the arrangement, and more soundscapes behind this really make it atmospheric and almost dark.  I find it to be one of the more lovely tunes on offer.
Side B
Home Sick Yawn
Dropping the key once again, this is a fascinating tune with organ and strings for a slightly symphonic effect. And that great low register voice really tops it off. Once again, this is not hard to like, folk music lover or not.
Plymouth Fury (car ride)
“Now, what a treat,” I thought when I opened the record and saw this title. It does not get any more up my alley than this. He sings a story about his car as if writing a sort of love letter to it. I had to play it a few times because I wasn’t sure if I liked the tune as much as the title, but that is all it took to click.
Till The Wind Blows Everything
This is one of the longer songs, and a great way to close the set with an epic of sorts. Sharp acoustic guitar lines and the usual languid vocal approach are all it needs, but in between there is so much more on offer. This has to be the most complex number on the album, and that is a good thing.

 

 
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