tremble clef

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Brookville, "Golden"/"Slow Emotion Replay" (2006)

It's easy to casually like, but probably difficult to fanatically love, Brookville. Since the band is led by Andy Chase, it's tough to not consider Brookville in the same mental breath as the other bands that Andy has links to: Ivy (in some ways the central, nucleus band, since it comprises Andy, his significant other Dominique Durand, and Adam Schlesinger); Fountains Of Wayne (which features Adam); and Paco (another side project, this one with Andy and Dominique).

And in that light, Brookville does suffer by comparison. It's not as famous as Fountains Of Wayne, and doesn't play the kind of instantly hooky power rock that would ever make them so. And while its output -- bossa-novaish lounge pop, or, to paraphrase the band's press materials, "languid, atmospheric music" that allows Andy to "balance his talent for songcraft with his love for rich sonic landscapes and textures" (and yes, those descriptions made Andy like a terrifyingly boring muso to me too) -- isn't far from Ivy's or the even more languid Paco's work, it does lack the charming vocal stylings of Dominique.

But, of course, as much as Brookville suffers from these associations, it also benefits from them. After all, I've picked up both Brookville albums -- 2003's Wonderfully Nothing, and the new Life In The Shade -- because of those very ties. (Also possibly because the two album covers form an obvious money pit diptych. Which apartment do you want? Tough call, I know.)

Life In The Shade is certainly not a bad album, though. "Nothing's Meant To Last" has probably gotten the most attention, being as it is a kind of duet between Andy and the Brazilian Girls. But I'm inclined to think that "Golden" might have made a good single: it has brassy trumpets over a chugging bass, and were it not for how the lyric turns out by the end to be a lament for how "nothing can be the same way again," would make a perfect sunny summer song. A bit subtler is "Slow Emotion Replay," but I like it as much. A cover of a track from The The's Dusk album, it almost sounds like a modern Housemartins song (I'm likely thinking of "Bow Down" in particular). I hereby deem them worthy of your time, even if, once again, both songs sound like they would work even better as Ivy tracks, with Dominique's vocals. But then again, you could say that about practically every song in the world, so let's not hold it against them.


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