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The Lost Brothers - Halfway Towards A Healing (Review)

The Lost Brothers, Halfway Towards A Feeling

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THERE are some beautiful moments on The Lost Brothers’ fifth album, Halfway Towards A Healing, which takes the listener on a classic journey through the heartlands of America and sometimes into the depths of history.

Recorded in Tucson, Arizona, at the perfectly titled Dust and Stone Studios (operated and owned by producer Gabriel Sullivan and overseen by Giant Sand linchpin, Howe Gelb), the album deliberately conjures a sense of time and place, which belies the Irish roots of their creators, Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland.

But on a track like the ridiculously sumptuous Reigns of Ruin, a sense of the Old West is conjured in the lazy acoustic guitar licks and dusky harmonica. This is only enhanced by the occasional stabs of brass which also, in turn, assume a cinematic grandeur.

You can well imagine John Wayne telling his ranch hands another classic wrangling story to this instrumental as a backdrop, or Butch and Sundance riding off to a Mexican sunset. It has a bittersweet romanticism to it that demands repeat listening.

Title track Halfway Towards A Healing, on the other hand, has a slightly more greater sense of foreboding… as if a wrong is being corrected in some small way over the course of the record. There are bluesy guitar licks to offset some of the more country-folk elements, as well as a louder beat. The spirit of Johnny Cash hovers over this one.

Another highlight is album opener Echoes In The Wind, which wraps some melancholy lyrics around some beautiful folk guitar licks. And yet while it gives pause for thought, the layered instrumentals have a timeless driving quality that – again – conjure memories of life on the road (possibly trying to escape the failings listed within the lyrics). There’s a dusky romanticism to it.

Just occasionally, the album slips into something too samey and relaxed… the tenderness needing more of a shot in the arm, or the acoustics taking over for too long. Without delivering a bad song, there are periods when certain tracks wash over you, lacking the brilliance of its best moments.

But in spite of this, there’s plenty to savour. Come Tomorrow‘s driving guitar sound is highly effective and works well against the tender vocals, Songs of Fire smoulders beautifully and has that American border-town vibe as well as a bittersweet sense of loss, and final track, The Ballad of a Lost Brother revisits the ghost of Johnny Cash with a spoken word tale that – again – conveys a sense of the Old West. It’s a quietly effective end to a quietly impressive album.

Download picks: Echoes In The Wind, Halfway Towards A Healing, Reigns of Ruin, Come Tomorrow, The Ballad of a Lost Brother

Track listing:

  1. Echoes In The Wind
  2. Where The Shadows Go
  3. Come Tomorrow
  4. Cry For A Sparrow
  5. More Than I Can Comprehend
  6. Reigns of Ruin
  7. Halfway Towards A Healing
  8. Songs of Fire
  9. Summer Rain
  10. Iron Road
  11. Nothing’s Going To Change Me Now
  12. The Ballad of a Lost Brother