Regionalism is strong in Canada, and the same can be said for Canadian music. Province to province and coast to coast, music takes on different influences and driving forces, making for regionally diverse sounds and unique genres. West coast music, for example, is often recognized as having more folky roots and ties to nature. With a nostalgic feel and rootsy undertones, Vancouver’s The Lost Lovers Brigade is a perfect representation of West Coast folk rock: mellow, intelligent, and hauntingly beautiful.
Like many other Vancouver-based bands, The Lost Lovers Brigade doesn’t fit into any specific genre, and their 2011 release “Little Skeletons” is a collection of 11 songs with a variety of influences and a clear coastal BC flavour. It has a real “hippie” vibe, a sort of dreamy, acid-washed mix of folk and indie rock that brings up images of flowy guitar sing-alongs by the ocean. Lead singer Elisha May Rembold has a beautiful and haunting voice, and the mourning tone of her voice is perfect for the emotional and heartfelt lyrics that make up each song. She’s almost theatrical in her singing, not in that she’s fakely dramatic but in the sense that her voice perfectly matches the emotions of each song. This is what makes the album so beautiful and easy to become lost in, and what puts Rembold head and shoulders above so many other vocalists.
It’s not just the lead vocals that stand out, however. Beautiful harmonies abound, and the contributions of the other pieces (including the usual guitars and percussion but also the very cool organ and tambourine) have an equally powerful effect. It would be interesting to hear more of these other elements, as they seem to bring something really special on their own.
There really is nothing typical about this album, and that’s what makes it so good. It is worth listening to a few times, at different times of day, both in the background and with full attention. The Lost Lovers Brigade has been a highly sought-after commodity in Vancouver, and “Little Skeletons” shows why this is so. Listen to and buy the album on Bandcamp (only $10) and then become wonderfully lost in the sounds of the West Coast.