Brother JT

Off Blue

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"Recorded in my living room," as the credits read in the short liner notes -- so give Brother JT a nod for twisting the bedroom recording idea even on that level. John Terlesky's love of rough-and-ready recordings had long been established by the release of Off Blue, so in many ways it's not a question of what new surprises he might offer but how well he carries them out. But it's also one of his sweetest, sunniest efforts at many points, suggesting the sweetly hazy groove of early T. Rex matched with a skeletal power pop kick and swing. Songs like "Son of Man" continue this engaging feeling, while "High School" has a wistful melancholy in its overdub of gentle electric guitar and moodier feedback overdubs. Contrasting many of the sounds are the lyrics, many of them referencing God, the Devil, states of existence, and other similarly deep matters. It's heady stuff, but handled well given Brother JT's easy, multi-tracked delivery, always suggesting gentle ruminations instead of pronouncements. "The Stars" has a view of the cosmos that could work for Carl Sagan as much as a religious mystic, yet all ultimately framed through the lens of personal romance and connection in the end. No question that romance also forms a key theme -- to quote a line from "Becoming," "This guitar's a poor facsimile when it's your heartstrings I'd rather be strumming." And who could knock that?

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