Records We Missed ’09:: Brian Borcherdt Torches

To be fair, I wouldn’t really say we missed this one. When Brian Borcherdt offered up his collection of demos for free earlier this year, we happily hit the old “right-click, Save as” and waited impatiently for the goods to find a home on our hard drive. The thing is, by the time I could load the songs into iTunes, tons of bloggers had already cranked the hyperbole levels up to the gigawatts, professing the greatness of Brian and this collection of songs.

It’s not that I disagreed with the assessment - obviously, as Coyotes demonstrated (review), he’s a talented song writer - it’s just that with any of Brian’s solo work, I don’t find the rewards as immediate. His intimate, stripped down songs are hushed, emotional and personal and like a nice bottle of wine, they need time to breath to reach their peak. These songs are his lifeline back to shore from the stormy seas that are Holy Fuck and quite honestly I prefer to travel in the calmer waters he offers up when he takes that step back. Instead of the thrills of huge crashing waves and blustering winds, Brian sits alone in his boat, accompanied by only his thoughts and fears without the crutch of energy and adrenaline to help him make it home.

More importantly, with Torches, you are left with snippets of thoughts that date back as far as 5 years. While Coyotes was a cohesive, slow burner that presented ideas clearly and concisely, Torches is almost like diary entries Brian jotted down when Holy Fuck was running on all cylinders. It’s more of an adventure to listen to the complete collection - a rewarding one, make no mistake - but not something that can be processed in a few listens.

Swells of sounds and emotions stand along side hushed confessionals and beautiful moments (like Oh Oh Oh and Steady Hands) and surprising melodies (the title track for example) battle the darkness and loneliness (Vanishing Act), all leaving you with an stark and very intimate window in to Brian’s heart during those years. From a musical perspective, the songs show Borcherdt trying countless styles as he battled through any uncertainty or insecurity he might have had as a song writer, and for him to finally release the tracks and admit they had evolved to a point where a perfectionist could release them is a big step, but for him to jump from this mixed bag to the focused output of Coyotes is even more impressive.

For the denizens of Halifax, Brian is playing a show tonight at The Company House with some support from The Prospector’s Union and Dance Movie. I’d highly suggest heading down, as the warm confines of the small bar are a perfect setting for his stories. As a fitting treat, I thought I’d link the very timely Furnaces for you to enjoy, but suggest you head over to the label and grab the whole collection.


MP3:: Brian Borcherdt - Furnaces
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/brianborcherdt
D/L Torches:: http://www.handdrawndracula.com/store.html#torches

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 8:57 am and is filed under Brian Borcherdt, Halifax, Hand Drawn Dracula, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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