Bruce Peninsula - Open Flames
Right off the top I need to admit that I really didn't take to Bruce Peninsula's debut. It's not that I disliked the Toronto band. For some reason though, they just never broke through fully into my consciousness. So I was determined to make more of an effort with their sophomore album Open Flames, which comes out on October 4th.
I'm ecstatic that I made that effort, because Open Flames is an indie rock tour de force. The album has a freewheeling spirit that simply refuses to be tamed.
The album opens with "As Long As I Live", a dark and gritty song with an organic groove and awe-inspiring gospel style backing vocals. Those vocals pop up throughout the record and are a key component to the grand feel of it all. Rich layers add seemingly limitless texture to tracks like "In your Light" and "Chupacabra".
Songs like "Say Yeah" have an almost occult aura to them, like a ritualistic song a coven of witches would chant around a bonfire in a clearing in the woods. "Warden" verges at Timber Timbre ghost folk territory at times, while the slightly Gothic/slightly World "Pull Me Under" is equally parts Peter Murphy and Peter Gabriel.
Tempo plays a significant role in the music of Bruce Peninsula. Be it the momentum building of "Open Flame" or the sustained tension of "Adrenaline", it is largely based on the band's deft touch with the pace.
I think the ultimate compliment I can give Open Flames is that it makes me regret not giving time to Bruce Peninsula sooner.
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