For those immersed in the Calgary music scene, Brooker Buckingham is a well known name, but for most, the talented guitarist is a new name we didn’t realize we knew. The consummate guest – Brooker has supplied textures for the likes of Lorrie Matheson, Woodpigeon, and Samantha Savage Smith – Buckingham has tidied up his pad and invited people into his world.
And his world is filled with sunny, 90’s power popping, Beatle-y melodies and a splash of Elliott Smith vocals. Sure, his influences are far from unique, but what makes this record work is that Brooker also explores twang, Tropicalia, Bossa Nova and proggy guitar freakouts to offset the smooth edges. Somehow So Real-Surreal is a loving tribute to Brooker’s guitar, his influences and a foundation we’ve all come to enjoy as music fans, but it feels like something more too.
Session musicians often enjoy the privacy of standing to the side, only stepping forward when they know they have something worth saying. Brooker’s songs may walk on familiar grounds and channel familiar memories, but the talent and touch he displays throughout So Real-Surreal certainly earns our attention and is worth our time. Don’t believe me? Just wait till you hear the electric grit backing the light as air melody of “Curtain Call.”