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Bog River - Hands In The Ground

Reviewed By: Michael Elves

September 15 2011

Like those handy little tripod stools you can take camping, local act Bog River are a pretty resourceful three-piece. The music they make on Hands In The Ground is impressively rich and testament to how talent isn’t mere arithmetic. Ben Hadaller + Dave Barchyn + Carly Dow = more than the sum of their parts.

While they’re abetted by James McKee (the F-Holes) on brass and Alex Campbell on piano, the trio is responsible for the majority of the instrumentation on the album, and they split songwriting duties evenly.

The liner notes indicate recordings took place at Red Rock Lake, and I’m guessing this means in a cottage – which would account for the warm sound Hands In The Ground possesses and that wraps around the listener like a flannel blanket. “All Of Heaven’s Angels,” one of the album’s finest moments has an upright bass line that rumbles softly like a cargo train in the distance and the harmony vocals and kazoo flutter around in the mix like fireflies on a summer night.

Meanwhile “Buckle Down” finds the trio showing they can hold their own with the likes of The F-Holes (whose Angel In The Corner is another great new local release) and their brand of Dixieland rave-up, and the lovely waltz “After The Flood” displays their delicate side.

 The Hands In The Ground CD release show is Thursday, October 13th at the West End Cultural Centre.