The Belle Brigade: The Belle Brigade

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coverWhat is it about siblings who make music together?  What is it about that shared psychic telepathy which creates a mutual understanding and language that the rest of us can't understand, yet we can hear it in every note?  It can border on paranormal activity, a kind of familial chemistry that cannot be duplicated or faked.  It is this chemistry that makes The Belle Brigade's debut record so undeniably enjoyable.
Siblings Barbara and Ethan Gruska have the gift of music in their blood (their grandfather is famed composer John Williams) but it is their love for classic Americana music and 70's pop like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles that give the band a maturity beyond their years.  The arrangements are tight yet swing and the harmonies are absolutely mesmerizing.
I was familiar with some of these tunes after catching a memorable live set at the KCRW showcase at SXSW, but the production on the record courtesy of Matthew Wilder (No Doubt, Christina Aguilera) elevates the material.  "Losers" is an inspirational self-affirming anthem, as if guru Deepak Chopra was channeled through Rilo Kiley.  And the quirky personality of the duo also adds an interesting dimension on some of the songs, particularly the soaring "Where Not to Look For Freedom," which incorporates a raspy, deep-voiced backing vocal which sounds like it could be courtesy of Cookie Monster.  It all adds up to a truly remarkable debut.
-- Dan Wilcox, KCRW Music Host
The Belle Brigade will be available to stream on demand from April 4 through April 17, 2011. The album will be released on Tuesday, April 12, 2011.

Artist website:

Track listing
1. Sweet Louise
2. Where Not To Look For Freedom
3. Losers
4. Belt Of Orion
5. Shirt
6. Lucky Guy
7. Lonely Lonely
8. Punchline
9. Rusted Wheel
10. My Goodness
11. Fasten You To Me





Dan Wilcox