Mike Brookfield: Love Breaks the Fall Review

Mike Brookfield has the technical training to be a guitar god, as you might expect from one of Dublin’s most reputable instructors. Brookfield names Clapton as one of his biggest inspirations, and it’s certainly not hard to hear in the melodic turns and technical prowess Brookfield demonstrates on the fretboard. But the guitar teacher isn’t all scales theory, either – Love Breaks the Fall is a dark, introspective record that’s as moody as it is soulful. Even on its most playful tracks (“All My Heroes are Junkies,” “Bare Witness), there’s an underlying angst that never completely goes away. Brookfield feels like he’s baring his soul through the melodies he crafts; Love Breaks the Fall beckons hypnotically.

The titular opening track is a fantastic slow-burner that pits one of Brookfield’s most tortured melodies against the incredible harmonic distortion of his Fender. “Love Breaks the Fall” isn’t deceptive in its appeal; the rest of the album follows with tracks of the same quality (or perhaps slightly less in two or three instances). “The Killing Line” sees Brookfield trying on his rockabilly persona, and it connects. “Blue Skies” and “No Candle Burns in the Rain” is a fantastic one-two punch of Clapton-inspired (or Jeff Beck-inspired perhaps), brooding rock and roll. The record’s closing moments are equally captivating, with Brookfield playfully singing “I can’t work out how all my heroes are junkies” on the penultimate track (once again donning his rockabilly persona), and suddenly switching gears for the closing track, the sleepy instrumental “Peace for Joe” (written for Brookfield’s deceased friend).

The sonic palette on Love Breaks the Fall is phenomenal, with surging electric pianos, slightly-heavier-than-usual reverb on Brookfield’s vocals, and a mix that walks the fine line between being able to comfortable call it “heavy” or being able to comfortable call it “light.” Brookfield plays with his white space often – sparse drums for distorted solos, trading vocals for surges of instrumentation, and occasionally deciding to carry the majority of the backing music on a resonating piano or a quietly strummed guitar.

It can take an artist a few years and a couple of albums to sound as developed as Mike Brookfield does on Love Breaks the Fall, but Brookfield makes it seem easy. As a natural talent on the blues scene, it’s not hard to get excited about where he might go next.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Love Breaks the Fall
– No Candle Burns in the Rain
– What You Don’t Know
– All My Heroes are Junkies
– Peace for Joe

The Big Hit

– Love Breaks the Fall

Review by Richard MacDougall

Buy the album: Amazon

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