Breath From Another


The Work Group, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Something tells me that Sean Belvedere would have killed for this review assignment.

You see, Sean is a card-carrying member of the Bjork fan club. He revels in each strange twist her music takes, and has made it known in the two reviews he's done of her albums that he has thoroughly enjoyed them.

That's why I think Sean would have liked to review the debut disc from the Canadian-American band Esthero, Breath From Another. Their music is hard to pigeonhole, is definitely different than your run-of-the-mill alternative schlock that fills some radio stations, and is enjoyable as hell.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Comprised of lead singer Esthero and American-born guitarist Doc, Esthero is quite the mysterious pairing. Their bio is so cryptically written that I found myself more amazed that the rich sonic sculptures that make up this album came from just two people. (Maybe it was more - I have an advance copy of the CD with minimal liner notes.) But Esthero creates music that rarely disappoints and never bores the listener - and they also don't delve into virtual weirdness.

From the title track leading off the album (and the sound bites from Deliverance), you know this is not your ordinary listening experience. Doc's production work is incredibly fresh, pulling sounds out of a song that you'd never expect. And Esthero's voice reminds me a lot of Bjork's - she can sing one note several different ways, all in the same breath. She can go from breathless whisper to impassioned plead seamlessly.

"That Girl" is proof that this strange pairing turns out as natural as dipping chocolate in peanut butter. If this song doesn't become the first single, then I want to have a little talk with the boys over at Sony Music. In just under five minutes, "That Girl" captures the essence of Esthero, and could very well be the next big thing we'll be listening to on the radio.

Of course, other tracks on Breath From Another also show a lot of promise, such as "Heaven Sent," "Country Livin' (The World I Know)" and "Swallow Me". In fact, by the time the album unofficially ends (leading to the obligatory "hidden" track), it almost feels unnatural for the music not to be there, for it provides such a natural "background" feel to whatever it is you're doing.

There are few weak moments on Breath From Another - the most notable being the short interlude "Flip'er Overture" - but for a first effort, very impressive, indeed.

In an age where everyone is drooling over alternative (and much of it out there is either boring or damned annoying), Breath From Another is a breath of fresh air that could, if given the chance, wake up a stagnant music scene.


Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of The Work Group, and is used for informational purposes only.