REVIEW: Record Collector

The Lost Brothers
Halfway Towards A Healing ****
Bird Dog BDR006 (CD/LP)
Clearly in rude health, despite that title.
The frequent elusive alchemy of instrumental skill, vocal prowess and quality song writing is something to treasure. Fortunately, Irish duo The Lost Brothers (Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland) have all three ingredients by the lorry load. They display their formidable skills to fine effect here, their fifth LP. Produced by Gabriel Sullivan and Howe Gelb, it’s an unhurried work, where wonderful close harmonies weave patterns around tender, evocative songs.
A variety of themes run through these 12 tracks, be it a sense of loss, the passing of time, or flicker of hope. The opener, Echoes In The Wind, is an elegant reflection on life’s ephemeral nature, with beautifully structured percussion providing a spectral pulse behind discreet instrumentation. The title track offers a similarly slow-burning power, driven by those superb harmonies. Grace and dignity abound throughout, such as on Iron Road’s fragile optimism or Summer Rain’s sweeping emotions, where Jon Villa’s expressive trumpet playing is one of the highlights. By contrast, there’s room for some drool humour on the finale, The ballad Of The Lost Brother.
This quietly confident album trusts listeners to take their own emotional lessons but in any case offers some poignant scenarios to consider. A thoughtful and subtle gem.
Steve Burniston

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