Apparently an album lamenting how we all have to, at some point, grow up and leave some things and people behind, Work and Love is the Toronto trio Elliot Brood’s follow up to 2013 Juno Award winner Days Into Years (you can sense a thematic preoccupation, here) takes a very personal approach as writers Mark Sasso and Casey Laforet draw very much on their own lives for these songs of ended relationships, the tests of adulthood and the reluctant farewells to childhood, the latter particularly informing (courtesy of City and Colour’s Aaron Goldstein) pedal steel- streaked album opener Little Ones.
Drawing on influences that range from Neil Young and Whiskeytown-era Ryan Adams (the latter on the jangling guitar rocker Tired) to the mariachi horns and Leone textures of Mission Bell that give way to clattering drums, hoarse vocals and Americana rock n roll swagger as well as the Ronnie Lane echoes of Nothing Left. Building to a crescendo, the sparse, dust-hung Taken is a hefty centerpiece.
Between the mandolin strummed bounce of Jigsaw Heart, the steady march of ringing guitars on the community-themed Each Other’s Kids and gradually swelling swayalong closer At The End Of The Day, this is an album about taking the next, sometimes scary step into a grown up world. On this evidence, they have their feet planted on solid ground.
Review by: Mike Davies
Out Now on Paper Bag
Order via Amazon