ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The North Side Benches
There is a
certain "je ne sais quoi" feeling that can be evoked from time
to time, on any given summer night, driving under the translucent
opal twilight through the Beaches district in Toronto. It is
a certain mood, a flavour, a sense of something in the air that
cannot quite be articulated but is there. Ottawa rocker Jim
Bryson, still a relative unknown in many circles, comes as close
as you can get to bottling that distinctive yet subdued pub-patio,
open-air ambiance on his second CD, The North Side Benches.
The album is instrumentally rich and layered in texture, with
subtle yet memorably melodic tones coupled with rock ballad
stanzas which are pure Canadiana. Best described as a fusion
between the best elements of fellow canucks Bruce Cockburn and
Blue Rodeo, melded with the likes of Billy Bragg and John Mayer,
Benches is both a low-key and astutely harmonic album.
Benches works to accentuate whatever mood you're in and is
one of those rare universally appealing albums which belongs
on the shelf of both the Bohemian and the bureaucrat alike.