Originally from Rhode Island, Andrew and Brad, the two original Barr Brothers, moved to Montreal in 2005. They joined together with harpist and neighbour Sarah Pagé, and eventually included their fourth member and multi-instrumentalist Andreas Vial. The folk quartet have proudly released their sophomore album Sleeping Operators.
“Static Orphans” opens the album in a dreamscape, with calming folk instruments chiming together in a fantastical way for an instrumental introduction, which then seamlessly transition into the second song “Love Ain’t Enough”.
Peaceful and calming musicality is a running theme for the first few tracks, with “Wolves” and the bluesy “Come in the Water” making it easy to sit back and listen to the sounds.
“Even the Darkness Has Arms“ begins to pick up the pace of the album, with cycling guitar picking and harmonizing vocals for a toe-tapping folk love song.
Beautiful and dramatic is the best way to describe “How the Heroine Dies”, with the music telling the story and the lyrics become secondary.
Playing around with different influences and styles, “Valhallas” incorporates latin-based guitar playing into the folk sounds of the harp and rustic vocals.
Connecting the dots between blues, folk and country, “Half Crazy“ features a catchy guitar riff, pulsating percussion and deep bluesy vocals. The ninth track from Sleeping Operator also happens to be the best.
The harp playing of Sarah Pagé plays a leading role in a number of songs, and “Bring Me Your Love” is one of them, adding a flavour of experimental to the dark folk sound.
The lullaby-esque “The Bear at the Window” and “Please Let Me Let It Go” end off the album in the same fashion that it started: calming, soothing and radiant.
Listen to the full album via KCRW.