Newcomer Brooke Barrettsmith is here to make her mark on the music world. Signed to Essential Records, her self-titled debut is produced by Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, The Almost) and Rob Hawkins (Fireflight). The production muscle itself is impressive, without taking into account the fact that she is signed up to one of the largest Christian music labels in the industry. All this points to what should be an impressive, or at least likeable, entry into CCM rock.
Album single "Farewell" is easily the highlight of the album, with an almost "epic" feel from the way Barrettsmith delivers it, in a style slightly reminiscent of Firelight's "Unbreakable." "Quiet My Heart" is one of the few reflective moments on the album, delivering its message nicely; "Quiet Streets" is another fine example of this artist's talent on the other end of the spectrum, with an overall feel that makes its title seem rather oxymoronic. The closer, "Paper Tigers," also carries a little of the epic feel that "Farewell" shares, but tones it down with the piano dominating, instead of the driving electric guitars present elsewhere on the album. This makes for a fitting conclusion, despite a feeling of ambiguity that is left as to what meaning the "paper tigers" were meant to convey.
Brooke Barrettsmith's self-titled debut has its highlights, but the simplicity coupled with its similarity to other Christian rock bands hinders what could have otherwise been a great album. Still, there's plenty of room for growth here, and the album gives the listener the feeling that Brooke is more than capable of maturing her musical style significantly with subsequent releases. Nevertheless, it would have been nice to have seen the musical maturity displayed here, because, as it is, this album is an oddly thrown-together mix of brilliance and monotony, sometimes relying on the aggressiveness of the guitar riffs to gain attention, rather than melodic skill.- PReview date: 5/28/08, Review date: 8/11/08, written by Adam Dawson for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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