Friday, March 6, 2009

Reviews:: Pamela Brennan One Hundred Photographs

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I’ll admit it. I love the Internet. Not only can Shane and I google almost any classic rap jam from the 87-93 era and be rewarded with a grainy, Rap City logo infused video within seconds, it also provides us with some terrific, unsolicited music from artists who we'd never hear about on our own. I’m not talking about one of those form letters that start with the "hey, I am a huge fan of your blog!!!! I recently read your review of X (note: from two years ago) and think you might be into my new band!"

No, I’m talking about those unassuming emails that are more about loving a band than trying to impress us. In this case, Pamela Brennan wrote us after talking with Jay Clark Reid and casually mentioned he sang on her record, One Hundred Photographs. She didn’t litter the email with, "if you like Jesus, Hendrix, The Beatles, Kanye, T-Pain, Lucinda Williams or music in general, you’ll love me" type statements. No, she just simply asked us to take a listen if we wanted.

Without hearing a note, I got a sense of honesty and down-to-earth sensibility from the Ontario singer, and the fact she was a big fan of the casual roots style Jay delivers only sweetened the deal. My hopes were met as soon as the sax and her honey coated vocals started on Departure. The track floats along with nice strings, guitar and backing vocals – thanks to Jay and Annelise Noronha – and the pleasantness of the track was ... relaxing.

While that might seem like an odd choice of emotion to embrace, Pamela’s style is soothing. Sure, she's a "by-the-numbers" female folk rocker, but the nine songs that make up One Hundred Photographs force your worries to slip away. Her lovely voice is supported nicely with strings, piano, banjo, Rhodes (on the nice, quirky closer - Victoria) and percussion. Sometimes uses a heavy plucked bass line and Jack Breakfast’s ivory twinkling to match Brennan’s admission that "sometimes, I’m free."

Brennan isn’t all sunshine and she makes use of a few darker tracks - she benefits from Paul Aucoin’s mood setting vibraphone on Another Lonely Day and Dream creates that isolation we all crave from these folk rockers- to give the record some depth, but she knows how her bread is buttered. Brennan's style makes for an easy listen, and with everything else getting turned on it's head these days, sometimes something "safe and warm" is all we want.

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Posted at 10:20 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Dave did sayeth:

Watercan was a killer band (Ottawa circa mid 90s) and Pam doesn't even list it in her bio!


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