by Tiana Feng
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Label: Constellation Records
After years of touring with Arcade Fire and providing them with some beautiful violin lines, Sarah Neufeld released a solo album called “Hero Brother”.The album is majorly solo violin with vocal flourishes and added samples from nature. Hero Brother is a grower, but upon multiple listens you will be transported to a medieval fairy tale world.
“Tower” introduces to a castle in the distance. Waves can be heard crashing against it. Vocal “ooo”s add mystery. In “Hero Brother” we meet the protagonist, in a grand entrance reinforced by timpani. His adventure begins in “Dirt” and “You Are the Field”, the latter both full of tension and resolution, as if meeting a stranger turned friend. They end up somewhere ominous in “Breathing Black Ground.” Maybe they reached their destination only to find the village has been burned down. With gentle whispers and pizzicato playing, “They Live On” cherishes the lives and spirits of those that passed on.
“Wrong Though” & “Right Thought” are filler moments, perhaps more wandering in the forest with the occasional small drama. “Splinter Fire” is a happy moment that gets interrupted in “Forcelessness”. The hero watches helplessly as his friend gets shot with an arrow and watches his fall in slow motion. It’s a heartbreaking moment made more so by the fiddle and emotive piano chords.
In “Below” we bury the fallen friend and the hero ponders staring into the distance. He will get revenge. Then the first book/movie is over and we have to wait a few years to see what happens next.