Album review: The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator

PUBLISHED: 11:30 04 November 2014

The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator

The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator


Wide-ranging atmospherics in an adventurous, ageless, melting pot of guitar-led goodness.

It’s easy to miss just how much work has gone into this Montreal outfit’s self-produced sophomore record.

It bristles with arrangements and combinations that sound so natural it belies their complexity.

A plethora of instruments decorate, sometimes drive, the songs which flit through roots, folk, Americana, blues, AOR and psychedelia.

An intimate campfire communion atmosphere prevails, aside from brief ventures into the cinematic and quietly wondrous, and neighbourhood guests including The Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and Patrick Watson’s band add to the talents of brothers Brad and Andrew, classical harpist Sarah Pagé and pianist/bassist Andrés Vial.

Pagé sprinkles the songs with the harp’s magical dust or weaves clipped motifs (Valhallas), while hammered dulcimer and pedal steel guitar help create an ageless sound, rooted in the traditional but open and adventurous.

So there’s wayward blues-rock licks informing the galloping, rollicking Half Crazy and the characterful, exotic west African ngoni invigorating the dusty Little Lover.

Even The Darkness Has Arms layered vocals and nimble finger-picking is as warmly familiar as a fireside hug, while the cascading motif, brass parps and washes of harp strokes that power Come In The Water’s chorus make for a highlight.

The rumbling, rambling Bring Me Your Love outstays its welcome, opening a languorous final third that forgoes some of the melting-pot sparkle in pursuit of intimacy, but Sleeping Operator is still a worthy listen.

Rating: 3/5

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Bexley Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Bexley Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Bexley Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Most Read

Latest from the Bexley Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists