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Elliott Brood: Work & Love [Deluxe] *

Album Notes

Canadian trio Elliott Brood have made a career out of dark-souled, warm-hearted roots music whether it's the bare-bones antiquity of their debut EP or the electric clamor of their 2011 Juno-winning Days Into Years LP. They've managed a respectable level of success while keeping the D.I.Y. authenticity that endeared them to fans in the first place. The band who packaged their first release in a paper bag with an accompanying handmade old-timey photo book have now assembled their own little empire called Paper Bag Records and have earned their stripes touring relentlessly across North America and Europe (not to mention that Juno award). On their fifth album Work and Love, they continue to evolve, enlisting for the first time an outside producer, Toronto scene vet Ian Blurton. Building on the foundation of Days Into Years' heavy darkness, Work and Love subtly strengthens the rock tracks and capitalizes on the world-weariness of the quieter songs drawing out the strengths in both styles. From Casey Laforet's wistful sentiments on the powerful opening waltz "Little Ones" to Mark Sasso's epic "Mission Bells" this is the sound of artists at the treacherous crossroads of middle age looking both forward and back. It's a tough trick to pull off and a lot of bands at this point in their careers are either content to rest on their laurels or take a wild misstep into some incongruous style, but Elliott Brood are smarter than that. Blurton's influence as a producer allows them to stretch out within familiar parameters, making a warmly crafted, mature record that still sounds fresh and creative. As songwriters and vocalists, both Laforet and Sasso are at the top of the game and Sasso's strange, ragged tenor in particular can still deliver thrills when he lets it rip. This is quality work all around and another great release from this well-honed trio. ~ Timothy Monger


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