Blue and Broke Glows Incandescently On New Album Night Shadows

By Deuce

There’s a little bit of everything on Blue and Broke’s latest LP Night Shadows. The group goes to church on “Most of the Time”, a spirited call and response number in which lead vocalist Melissa Anthuenis is aided by what sounds like an authentic sounding, big-voiced choir of numerous participants.

“For A Little While” has definite bluegrass overtones, from the quirky electric guitar to the tinge of softness in Anthuenis’ voice, which becomes more prominent the longer you listen to the album. Other numbers are straight ahead rock in conception and execution, such as the album opener “As I Can”.

As cogent as Anthuenis is as she’s coaxing out melodies, high notes, and harmonies, the star of the stars for most of this 12-track affair is unequivocally Danny Verstraete, who simply breathes life, worlds, and gyrating little creatures into his piano and, especially, his Hammond.

Skeptical? Then just peruse “Bear It All”, which follows up “I Can” with keyboard work every bit as nuanced and textured as any tubed or effected guitar ever was. Granted, such coloration in the tune is surely assisted by the acoustic guitar that counterparts Verstraete’s playing, which seemingly wavers and pirouettes through the number.

But it’s so compelling that Anthuenis catches the vibe quick and gets to “drinking and dreaming” on the lyrics. The drums don’t pick up in earnest until about a minute into it, meandering along at a nice easy tempo too bouncy to be a ballad, but with such a feel nonetheless. Nonetheless the Hammond, the vibrato in the notes, is sheer fantastic—if not quite fantastical.

The piano player takes the front on “Night Shadows” with an interpretation of the tune that sounds every bit as ethereal—and spooky—as anything Doors’ organ specialist Ray Manzarek ever put down. In fact, this one’s got a distinct “Riders on the Storm” feel and appeal with a haunting melody that’s perfectly accentuated by male vocalist Henk Hofstede, who joins the party for this track only. He and Anthuenis go note for note, word for word in a spiraling up and down jaunt that’s shivering, giving Pedro De Bruyckere plenty of room to dive right in for a torrid guitar solo.

Yes, there’s a little bit of everything, and something for everyone, on this collection of tunes that blooms equally as well under nocturne, cloudy conditions as it does in the brilliance of the most nimbus-free post meridian.

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