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Black Dog String Quartet is a chamber pop group from Vancouver, known for playing with everyone from Sting to Rod Stewart, and on their new album A Thousand Times Brighter, they take center stage as their unique vision fully emerges. The group takes the classical string quartet and molds it around a popular music frame, blending the two seamlessly without the faintest shred of novelty or gimmick. A Thousand Times Brighter is a concept of sorts, with a thematic throughline of ecology and the natural world, and it is also dedicated to producer and engineer Olivia Quan who sadly passed away during the mixing of the album.
The record begins with a cover of “All the Pretty Horses,” breathing new life into the traditional lullaby with a cinematic rendition that beautifully highlights the tenderness of the lyrics. Elsewhere, the songs are written by violist and vocalist John Kastelic, ranging from the understated folk of “Rain and Shine” (sounding like a lost selection from Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs) to the jazzy “Dizzying View” which subtly includes drums, upright bass, and brass without detracting from the group’s ethos. A Thousand Times Brighter will appeal to fans of any number of genres from both sides of the classical/pop aisle, and the album will be released April 28th.
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