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Belgium-based group Blue and Broke are back with their third studio album Night Shadows featuring the Amstel Gospel Choir and Henk Hofstede of Nits. The record is a follow up to Edward, a concept album inspired by the American artist Edward Hopper, and although they continue to be influenced by his mysterious, melancholy paintings, the theme this time around is more sonic than lyrical. The group focused on an organic recording process with a lush soulful sound reminiscent of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. The result is an explosion of life that appeals to both the heart and the mind and excites the listener with its sheer creative energy.
Vocalist Melissa Anthuenis brings to the group a poetic Patti Smith intensity, and with songs like “Dear Vivian” which is about photographer Vivan Maier, it is obvious that art matters just as much to the band as other musicians. Blue and Broke explore a number of different styles and moods from the smoky film noir of “As I Can” to the country folk of “Bear It All” to the funk-inspired hard rock of “Ready,” but everything they try suits them simply because they so clearly love the act of creating music and being a part of its history. Night Shadows isn’t above referencing pop culture or the long history of popular music, and by beautifully and effortlessly synthesizing both the high and the low the band is elevated to a living individual work of art.
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