Bruce Peninsula – Open Flames

(Hand Drawn Dracula)

BRUCE PENINSULA play Soundscapes on Tuesday (October 4) and Lee’s Palace on October 27. See listing. Rating: NNNN

Open Flames has been a long time coming for Bruce Peninsula. Originally primed for release almost a year ago, it was shelved indefinitely when lead singer/founding member Neil Haverty was diagnosed with leukemia. Now that he’s officially in remission, the band is finally unveiling the long-awaited second album.

The hype around Open Flames is understandably amped up, and the album doesn’t disappoint. While their debut often leaned too heavily on hooting and hollering, here they reel in their trademark gospelish choir and use it as one colour in a rich prog-folk palette.

You wouldn’t expect subtlety from a 10-person band, but the dense arrangements are as distinctive for their sophisticated time signatures (held together by seriously excellent drumming) as for their multi-part harmonies. Misha Bower’s soulful voice often shares top billing with Haverty’s gruff croon this time around. Bruce Peninsula’s glut of talented singers manage to share the wealth.

Top track: Open Flame


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