Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Album review - The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra 'Lowering the Tone'

The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
‘Lowering the Tone’
(Silly Goose Records)
IF THERE was a fear that the devilishly theatrical musical collective of The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra might struggle to replicate their joyous, energetic live magnetism on record, that is quelled instantly on listening to the superb, brass-fuelled New Miracle, one of the stand-out tracks on the local band’s much-anticipated debut album, Lowering the Tone.
An ensemble that work in tandem with each other, indeed feed off each other in the live arena, this reviewer feared that the BPLO - in particular producer and chief songwriter David Blake - might struggle to capture that intensity on CD.
Thankfully, this is not the case, from the swooning, undulating opener of December to the more subtle and gentle album closer Lion’s Share.
Formed around the central triumvirate of the Blake siblings - David, Ann and James - the BPLO boast some superb musicians among their ranks, and this class is immediately apparent on an album that has been due for some time.
The band’s status is apparent from the presence of Today FM DJ and The Undertones singer Paul McLoone - a major fan of the group - who assumes mouth tuba duties on the brass-fuelled New Miracle, which packs a wonderfully vaudevillian flavour and some of the finest harmonies heard on record for some time.
The ability of the BPLO to flit between the carefree swing of the undulating December, the smooth, louche lounge-lizard tones of Grace Jones, the haunted, electric-rock groove of The Devil and Me (our favourite track) and epic crescendo of Soon!, is simply remarkable.
There are some other more heartfelt tracks, in particular the soaring, harmony-driven Millionaire and the heart-breaking All I Want, which would make a grown man weep.
The vivid lyrics are an eye opener also, in particular on the superb We Walked On - “we lifted a serpent, a dead man was healed / he spoke with a forked tongue, a truth was revealed”.
The sea-shantyesque balled Long Time Rogue is about the only off-key note on what is a superb, joy-filled, dervish of an album.

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