Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Brookville, Life in the Shade

Brookville is a side project of Andy Chase, part of the trio that forms the group Ivy.  I think Brookville’s initial CD, “Wonderfully Nothing”, is one of the great overlooked albums of the past several years.  Chase’s Brookville sound is restrained and hence the songs take time tobrookville front reveal their pleasures.  But what pleasures!  Chase builds tracks that are exquisitely crafted with jewel-like precision.  Every musical detail feels carefully considered, carefully recorded and carefully placed in a balanced and beautifully integrated sonic setting.  The tracks are easy to listen to because Chase writes songs with quiet yet compelling hooks and repeated listening is rewarding because the tracks are densely layered with many nuggets of musical gold that don’t necessarily reveal themselves on first hearing.  This is refined, beautiful, and sophisticated music.

In terms of the musical qualities that made “Wonderfully Nothing” so appealing, “Life in the Shade” sounds like it could be the second disc of a double CD.  The depth, the careful construction, the hidden treasures, they’re all there.  But then there’s the lyrics.  It appears that things have changed in Mr. Chase’s life, and not for the better.  “Wonderfully Nothing” was an album that examined a relationship that was not always smooth but where the joys outweighed the sorrows and the singer is committed to making it work.  “Life in the Shade” is all about the end of a relationship and it’s bleak.  The photo on the back of the CD digipack brookville backshows a wall painted sky blue with light fluffy clouds in what might have been a child’s room.  The plaster is cracked and torn.  At the base of the wall the drywall is broken and peeled back through it’s several layers.  The lathe underpinning is uncovered and it is shattered also.  The brick foundation that supports the whole structure is exposed, cracked, and broken.  The picture is a perfect metaphor for the relationship.  Brookville’s music takes time to sink in and take hold.  With “Life in the Shade” you’re sinking into sadness and a broken heart.  It’s devestating.  

Chase is (was?) married to Dominique Durand Ivy’s vocalist.  I have no idea whether “Life in the Shade” charts the end of his marriage.  However that may be I think he is a supremely gifted musician and I sincerely hope there is another Brookville album that  reflects emotional survival and a move to a better place for Andy Chase.


05/07/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music

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