Review: Mike Brookfield – Love Breaks The Fall

Posted on: Friday, Oct 9, 2015

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Mike Brookfield – Love Breaks The Fall

(Self-release CD)

Dublin-based Liverpudlian Mike Brookfield is a man with a varied and full CV that has seen him starring as Eddie Cochran in a West End musical, picking up a jazz musician of the year award and being musical director of the RTE.

He is also a respected guitar teacher. But any fears of a possible triumph of technique over taste are blown away throughout this wonderfully mixed bag of self-penned songs which instead showcase soul, subtlety and style. The title-track opener begins with a moody 12-string acoustic overture before building up with finesse-filled slow-burning guitar to a peak which sees Cian Boylan’s Hammond in the swirl before an expressive lead break heralding the dexterity to follow throughout this set.

Brookfield’s wife Grainne adds backing vocal to the poppy ‘Catfish Missile’, the verses interspersed with neat lead guitar which then underpins the rest of the track while still finding room to break free. ‘The Killing Line’ switches the mood to funky blues-rock with a big-guitar crunchy riff, wah-wah solo and unexpected gear change.

The slow and soulful ‘Blue Skies’ is cool and gloriously understated, again slow-burning with restrained guitar work which is finally unleashed in an awesome tour de force before the notes finally fall like gentle rain. The build-up formula works again in ‘No Candle Burns In The Rain,’ a false climax merely heralding a feedback-fired final flourish.

The backing unit’s prowess comes to the fore in the skin-tight instrumental ‘Bare Witness’ which has the rhythm section of Keith Duffy (bass) and drummer Jason Duffy laying the ground for Boylan’s Hammond to underpin further Brookfield’s guitar work which sees him veer into Stevie Ray territory.

The ploddingly paced rocker ‘What You Don’t Know Ain’t Gonna Kill Ya’ runs steadily on a convincing riff before ‘Golden Rule Girl’ slips in on a gently funky minor-key roll. The set winds towards the finish with the convincing rock ‘n’ roll of ‘All My Heroes Are Junkies.”

But that’s not quite all. Brookfield’s versatility is again fully revealed in the expressive emotion of closing instrumental ‘Peace For Joe’, a delicate and evocative tribute to a late friend in which the guitarist probably finds his true forte. It is a suitable way to finish a splendid album of guitar prowess and true originality.

JOHN BOTTOMLEY

www.mikebrookfield.com

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