By Mike Dunn
A year can feel like an eternity for an artist, or it can fly by with no notice. It’s often a matter of how willing you are to throw yourself into the self-promotion game. Edmonton’s Ayla Brook returns from a long recording hiatus with (I Don’t Wanna Hear Your) Break Up Songs, which finds Brook concentrating on the little realities of daily living, set to a breakneck, barroom groove that drips a froth of Keith Richards down the side of a pint of J.J. Cale.
“Hold On” is a breakneck two-step, with Hammond organ and some classy gentleman harmonies over the choruses, while “Wasting Time” is an honest and straightforward missive on living and working in the bar industry, that kicks off and jives the whole way through with that classic Sticky Fingers swagger. “On Your Right Side” is relaxed in just the right way, as nonchalant as Lou Reed over a T-Rex groove. “Reason To Stay” is a classic soul rave-up played with lean and greasy punk energy, and “A Song Before The Woods” closes the record with a Romani caravan vibe, with a hooky guitar riff over a squeezebox vamp to conjure some Eastern European hobo happily skipping and whistling past the graveyard.
Eight years have passed since Brook released the Danny Michel-produced After The Morning After, and Brook has found a new willingness to let loose and get loud, the clang and groove of boot heels on hardwood providing a willing dance partner for his hooky musings of barroom ennui, a reminder that the swinging doors are always there until closing time.(I Don’t Wanna Hear Your) Break Up Songs, Ayla Brook, Ayla Brook & His Soundmen