The Belle Brigade - The Belle Brigade
Label: RepriseReviewed by Lionel Rault, host of The Afternoon Edition
Please indulge me, should I choose for my CD of the Week a CD that has been out on the market for the better part of a year. Released in the spring of 2011, The Belle Brigade’s self-titled CD is such a strong debut that it deserves, in my opinion, another listen and a much wider audience.
At first glance, and without prior knowledge of who and what a Belle Brigade might be, I was immediately impressed with the maturity of writing and the excellence of performance; the high-level of musicality in all aspects of this project. Consequently, it wasn’t totally a surprise when a little research divulged the background of Barbara and Ethan Gruska, the brother and sister combination that creatively fuels this band.
Grandchildren of Oscar-winning film-score composer John Williams, the Gruska kids were raised by their dad Jay who, after some years as a solo artist, made his way writing songs for the likes of Michael and Janet Jackson and Amy Grant. Barbara Gruska was already established as one of Los Angeles’ top-call session drummers, having toured and recorded with Inara George and Jenny Lewis when she threw in her lot with piano-playing brother Ethan.
The result is this CD, chock full of bright, intelligent, catchy pop songs. Beautifully recorded, their vocal harmonies bring to mind the best of Fleetwood Mac and, at times, Simon and Garfunkel.May 25, 2012