Alan Brooks. A.liB.i
Alan Brooks/Bandcamp, 2013.
Alan Brooks: http://www.alanbrooksmusic.com/
I’m going to break from my usual prattle of giving you a detailed artist bio and jump right into the review because this week I have a review and an artist interview for you. Check out Alan’s answers to my questions for background information about him and his artistic influence.
First off, A.liB.i is an album that even my mother enjoyed, which is a huge feat to find something that both she, my husband, my son, and I all appreciate. Right there, that should give you an idea of the quality of Brooks’ music, if it can appeal to 7 year olds and 60 year olds in the same instant. A.liB.i is Brooks’ second album, coming after Getting From A to B in 2012, so he’s not brand new on the scene, and has mastered more of the tricks of the trade this time around. He’s also friends with members of the band Bethesda, and has performed with them previously, to give you an idea of his general flavor it’s a male Norah Jones meets a young Leonard Cohen. While the album is short, paired with his first album you have a good solid chunk of entertainment in store.
Silver Lining is an up-beat sound to a downer of a topic- a bad relationship and break-up. It’s an audible silver lining to an ending which is nearly universal, and reflects a feeling which many of us have at one time or another. Taxi Cab mellows out the feel a bit, and has a more drifting, loping melody that down plays the words, almost hiding them behind the gorgeous guitar riffs. Upside Down sounds like it should be named Mending, which throws me for a loop every time I listen to the whole album. Sewing references and the idea of one person helping to create the other in a relationship (“you stich me up,” “I feel so buttoned”) is a unique take on the nature of how people work together and the social fabric with which we weave our lives. Coming off of that music-forward song, and into the voice-forward style of Mending was a nice artistic bit, in my opinion. Brooks also gets a little growly on this track, and doesn’t use it too much, just enough to highlight his vocal flexibility. On the whole, the pair of songs are a good reminder of both the social construction and social destruction of identity that we fragile humans manage to survive, mostly intact even. Canary brings in more traditional references, of canaries in coal shafts, and the rustic touchstones of a bygone era with a soul lilt in the twenty-first century is a beautiful blend of old and new, just like Brooks’ Cleveland home. The idea of urban renewal through a return to one’s roots is an increasingly popular sentiment, and Alan Brooks’ music goes a long way to embodying that concept.
Check out Alan Brooks’ tour schedule, and if you can, go see him. “Local” isn’t just for food anymore, and Northeast Ohio has just as good a local music as we have local food, so get a little of both while they’re fresh!