Brookville | Broken Lights (Unfiltered)

cd_brookville.gifBrookville sounds like a sensitive singer-songwriter who’s got great command of his craft.

The cover of this one makes Brookville look like a sensitive singer-songwriter. The music makes Brookville sound like a sensitive singer-songwriter who’s got great command of his craft. With his whisper-perfect vocals, honest-to-goodness searching lyrics and gentle yet intricate instrumentation, this guy’s the real deal.

Brookville is the moniker of one Andy Chase, a New York-based musician and producer. The studio experience definitely shows in the music, especially in Chase’s sonic experimentation with texture and groove. The music belies influences as disparate as ’70s pop singer Chris Rea, ’80s Brit-wavers The Style Council, ’90s Catherine Wheel and ’00s atmospheric rockers Doves. Overall, though, it’s hard to find just one contemporary to compare it to (though one could draw definite parallels to French popsters Tahiti 80, whom Chase produces).

Another thing worth noting here is that Chase had plenty of guests on this album, including James Iha, The Brazilian Girls, Steve Osborne (New Order, Elbow, Doves), Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne) and Marty Beller (They Might Be Giants). It may also bear repeating that Chase attained some level of fame with his group IVY, in which Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) was also a member.

But enough description and name-dropping; let’s talk about the music. Though the songs are of a similar ilk and all mesh well together, there are different things to love about each of them. Perhaps the most addictive track here is "Dreaming On." With its (yes, I have to say it) dreamy vocals and atmospheric sounds, the song’s one that sounds great at night, whether through headphones in a dark room or at high volume in a speeding car.

Disc opener "Happy" draws you in with its mellow, lounge-inspired beat and Chase’s buttery voice. Smooth and shimmering, "Haunted House" feels like home; with its ’70s R&B undertones, "Tell Her You Love Her" is an old-fashioned twirl on the dance floor. Chase mixes it up a bit with vocal effects and a plaintive piano on "Breakdown," as searching a song as you’ll find here.

Lyrically, Chase knows when to elaborate—"Every little thing starts taking a toll/ nothing can prepare you for the weight on your soul"—and when a simple refrain—"Goodbye/ I don’t love you/ anymore"—speaks volumes. Admittedly, his voice isn’t especially strong, but it’s comforting, uncalloused, more than competent. Sometimes the songs seem to go on a bit too long, but really, that’s a trifle. When everything in the world seems wrong, slip on your headphones and let Brookville tell you it’s all right. A | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: The Style Council, Tahiti 80, Elbow

 

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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