The Barr Brothers The Barr Brothers

The Barr BrothersThe Barr Brothers
Although Brad and Andrew Barr grew up in Providence, RI, these transplanted Montrealers have fully immersed themselves in the sounds of their adopted city's best-known exports. In the hands of less ambitious musicians and producers, The Barr Brothers would have been a catchy, but merely pleasant, collection of Nick Drake-esque, bittersweet folk tunes. But through the sonic assistance of the Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek and Arcade Fire producer Howard Bilerman, the album is a richly layered tapestry and easily one of the most compelling Canadian debuts of this year. The best moments come when they show off some blues chops, as on "Give The Devil Back His Heart" and a Black Keys-esque cover of Blind Willie Johnson's "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying." But nothing tops the brothers' moving tribute to late Montreal singer Lhasa de Sela, "Cloud." Leonard Cohen couldn't have said it better. (Secret City)