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When the Chorus Walks



  Expel Records  
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Brookhaven is the part of Atlanta that I went to college in, so when I received a promo request for a band named Brookhaven, I wondered if this act was from my alma mater. Ah, good old Brookhaven. Perhaps they were a band that practiced in the old Peachtree Garbage Apartments, or that played a show at the Hudson Grille, or the Mellow Mushroom.

But, alas, this Brookhaven is project of someone names Sonny James, who is from Oakland, CA. Apparently he started making music under the name Brookhaven as a solo project, but has since added more members, making this a full band.

Brookhaven (the band not the suburb) is an instrumental rock band. The music that they make tends to follow more of a verse-chorus-verse format than the ebb-and-flow format of post-rock. That is to say, Brookhaven have more in common with Darkroom and The Departure Lounge than they do with Halves of Balmorhea. Different song structure, but in general the music is not that different. I bet that there is a lot of fan overlap.

Brookhaven start their record off with When the Chorus Walks (reprise). It is strange to kick things off with a reprise, but whatever. This song features guitar arpeggios, sawed strings, and rumbling drumming for an effect that is very Balmorhea.

On In June James plays guitar that is not too far from something that Robin Guthrie would do. It is a chiming lead, over some noodling guitar and tapped drums, and the song slowly builds in a very Guthrie manner.

Out On the Floor is a different manner entirely, as Brookhaven channel The Dirty Three. You never hear bands influenced by The Dirty Three, but this song certainly is. The guitar is a sparse thing, the drums are tapped, and there are strings that drone and soar over it all. Huh.

Olivet Mass features a different, more overdriven guitar tone, as well as some the most insistent drumming on the record. Something Must Remain Of Us is also Dirty Three like. James guitar is that sort of odd playing that Mick Turner uses, and it is combined with another, very distorted layer to great effect.

Towards the Unconditioned reminds me more of Tortoise. There is almost a hint of jazz in this song, which moves along at a loping pace. And finally the record ends with When the Chorus Walks, the non-reprise section, which is eight minutes of slow guitar meanderings set to a very Shipping News style clipped beat.

I like what Brookhaven are doing, even if it is not the most original thing that I have heard. There is a lot of potential here, and I look forward to more from this band.

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