Toronto
2 min

Mixing it up

What's the moral for Jamie Browning?

POP/ROCK HOT POT. Jamie Browning and her new band have released a genre-busting CD. Credit: Xtra files

Immoral Of the Story is a 16-track journey on a calm lake, with no boat rocking involved. It is indie rock for the easy listeners.



The majority of the album is equipped with fairly typical songs of love, heartache and self-loathing, with only one real twist, the bizarre, jazzy, spoken word song literally titled “Brick To The Head.”



Front woman Jamie Browning and long-time collaborator Edgar LeBel (keyboard, guitar) have long wanted to assemble a band that they could tour with – and here it is. The Jamie Browning Band members are confident musicians who each have a long history of playing live. You may recall Browning from her many Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal Pride performances and lead guitarist Aimee O’Connor will likely also be familiar as she is the understated and over talented staple in the queer indie music diet (Claudia’s Cage, Women Ah Run Things). Browning’s band also features drummer Neil Mcgrath and Derek Marshall on bass.



Immoral Of The Story wears its influences well. The strength of this album is its ability to melt other genres into the pop/rock pot. “Pop-rock-alt-prog-reggae-jazz-country-goth” is how they tag their sound, and there are some traces of each of those hyphenated styles. Browning’s voice is definitely memorable and brings in the goth element, while on songs like “Here In My Arms,” there is a more folk/country accent and “Time Will Heal” is infused with reggae.



And it is exactly this mixing of styles that could make their music more distinct. Unfortunately the sound stays a little too anchored in generic rock and the lyrics don’t stray too far from pop’s naive predictable ways.



Browning has said that when the band performs live, they really “rock out,” and the song “Underground” reveals this potential, But the rest of the album is far from rocking out. Mcgrath gives a steady beat to bop your head to and O’connor ads some solos you can air guitar to, but I can’t help feeling like they are all holding back. As with most indie bands I suspect that this CD would be better appreciated after seeing a live show. Assuming they take more risks on stage then they do when they record, a live performance would easily upstage this album.



My suggestion is to go see a live show and if you dig it, buy the album much like you would buy a postcard. Not quite as good as the real thing, but something to help you re-live it.



Immoral Of The Story.

Jamie Browning Band.

Never The Bride.

$15 from www.jamiebrowning.com.