Album: Come What May Come
Label: Self Released
The Barrowdowns as a band has it's origins in Halifax musicians Kendra Breen and Rowan Swain. Upon their move back to Nova Scotia, the duo joined up with veteran Halifax musicians Dave Fultz, Adam Martin, and Neal Read to create an eclectic style of folk music that is both energetic and haunting.
From the word go on pushing the play button on the CD player I became a follower of the Barrowdowns, they lift me into a space I seldom go with albums from the onset, sublime harmonies deft instrumentation and an ethereal arrangement on the first track ' Landlocked ' had me spell bound, I am rarely stunned by a new release but this one had me sitting down in my comfy chair and I literally did nothing else but listen for a couple of hours. When you consider also that it is their debut release it all adds to the magical genius that has combined to make this one of the best releases to come out of the east coast this year, with soundscapes behind tracks that add to the magical carpet ride that you have just undertaken.
When an album is better than good and it has almost worn out from playing in the car, on the sound system on the deck, on the headphones doing chores and in the bath with candles lit and a glass of wine in hand... okay ... maybe that was too much information, but, I can honestly say that this release has been my constant companion ever since it dropped on my desk. less is good they say but I want more.
I was and still am a big fan of a UK band called the levellers and in my mind The Barrowdowns are up on that stage alongside them with subtler touches in instrumentation and more sophisticated arrangements but with that same swagger that will have you dancing and waving your arms in the air, there are a number of tracks that you'll find yourself singing along to after a listen or two with some incredibly catchy hooks. The arrangements really are top drawer and the varied instruments they play is mind boggling. in the mix is always that heartbeat of a bass amongst it driving each track on a journey that you just don't want to come to an end.
Stand out tracks if I was pushed to choose any would be ' Landlocked ', ' Mocking Bird ' and ' A Living Wage ' - god I love the banjo - but you can add and subtract any number if not all of the above as there is not a bad track on this release. The hardest part of putting the finishing touches to an album is the placement of tracks in a cohesive running order, The Barrowdowns have nailed it with each track flowing seamlessly together in a gilt edged musical journey with hauntingly beautiful melodies and an incredible gift for timing and change in direction.
I predict you are going to be hearing a lot of great things about the band if they keep on this path and I truly believe that The Barrowdowns have just laid claim to many big stages across Canada and beyond with this release.