This is a beautiful project. This is a tender project. This is a project where the music, lyrics, and ambiance of recording A Thousand Times Brighter shines through. I love Black Dog String Quartet and am a forever fan… funny that all it took was once listen to the album opener, “All The Pretty Horses.”
Take a listen for yourself when the album drops on April 28th… and if anyone at Nintendo by some miracle is reading this, please please please hire these guys for the next Zelda game. There is so much soul to be calibrated here that my review won’t do it justice, with its warm strings, contented melodies, and celebration of four seasoned musicians on the brink of releasing their best work yet.
Formed in 2007, the Black Dog String Quartet is made up of some of Vancouver’s finest musicians. The group has appeared on the recordings of artists such as 54-40, Marianas Trench, Bleeding Through, and many others. Individual members have performed live on stage with some of the world’s top acts, including Rod Stewart, Kanye West, Sting, Michael Buble, Mariah Carey, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Video Games Live. Take a listen to their incendiary IRL cover of Portugal The Man below.
Their solid classical background, high skill level, and collective open-mindedness set the Black Dog String Quartet apart as one of Vancouver’s most unique and versatile ensembles. A Thousand Times Brighter is their first album of their own original material and on their own terms. While lyrically nothing hits as hard as the opening track, it does not stray far away from the emotional maturity the band has going on at full display.
Elyse Jacobson is a delight on violin. Molly MacKinnon plays with vigor and speed. John Kastelic on viola brings the group beyond audial gravity… and Doug Gorkoff on cello balances out the band with intense rhythm. John Kastelic, Chelsea Rose, and Naomi Kavka do the lead vocals on this album, and while they aren’t as powerful as the strings, listeners will be blessed to hear the trio share the songs with the group. All nine songs glow, rightfully so, and the more drama that appears on songs like “How I Remember It” the better.
This is not only a project of strength and sonic degrees of musical cadence, it is an original debut that anyone can listen to and enjoy. Looking forward to what they cook up next. Let’s keep that originality going, ehh?