Album Review: The Barr Brothers – Queens Of The Breakers

Queens Of The Breakers by The Barr Brothers is a gift – a passionate embrace of this band’s intrepid musical approach. Uniquely ambient and harmonically rich, this record is composed of transcendent folk and rock pieces that illustrate The Barr Brothers’ greatest work yet. An eclectic collection of songs born out of intentional improvisation and a hodgepodge of influences flawlessly coming together, Queens Of The Breakers is certainly worth the wait.

The album opens with Defibrillation featuring Lucius – a melodically elemental, yet ethereal piece. The gorgeous harp playing and vocals by Sarah Page and Lucius, respectively, contrast the dismalness of the title by offering a serene, remedial quality to the song. The fluidity into Look Before It Changes is seamless, as the atmospheric instrumentals and aerial vocals of The Barr Brothers leave listeners in a meditative state. Song That I Heard is an entrancing folk piece with a modern Simon and Garfunkel influence – nostalgic, angelic, and effortlessly timeless in nature.

The album speed picks up with Maybe Someday, a lively tune with a bluesy, retro vibe. Catchy and funky, with skewed riffs sprinkled throughout, this one is surely a head bopper. Kompromat and You Would Have To Lose Your Mind, a mixture of alternative and experimental rock, liberally incorporate the electric guitar and emphasize the musical range of this album. Queens Of The Breakers is an addictive indie folk-rock song, its heartiness inviting a convivial atmosphere. Hideous Glorious has two parts, the first being sonically light and the second gospel-folk fragment showcasing the versatility of Page’s harp. Ready For War serves as a cinematic ending to a record that reflects upon many memories and newfound realizations.

Even after the impressive success of Sleeping Operator, this newest album is evidence that The Barr Brothers and harpist Sarah Page are capable of creating magic together. An evocative album full of beautiful anthems at varying velocities, Queens Of The Breakers is thematically brilliant in all its dimensions.

Julia Kwan