Alex's Underrated Albums//Review Series: Brian Borcherdt “Coyotes” 2008

By Alex Goyetche
Alright, so most people out there will know Brian Borcherdt from the frivolously named “Holy Fuck”. In that outfit he plays keyboards and various other effects machines used to make people much unlike myself dance around and have a good time.

I don’t like dancing, and I don’t like techno or electronica or dubstep or whatever the fuck it’s called. What I do happen to like, however, is Borcherdts solo work. Specifically 2008s “Coyotes”. I like it quite a lot actually. And here is why:

While in Toronto nearly two years ago I went to a lovely little church to see one of my favorite groups, “Postdata”. A church possibly being the best venue in which to see acoustic acts, I was elated. Not to mention my under the register musical adulation/giddiness when I saw almost all the members of “Wintersleep” and a few Great Lake Swimmers wondering around the venue.

Then out of nowhere Brain Borcherdt stepped on stage with nothing but an electric guitar and preceded to play one of the most moving and hauntingly ethereal sets I had yet been blessed with the luck of seeing. Simple chord patters and smoky vocals swimming in reverb bounced around the room like some vague apparition, and I was sold.

I bought the album and listened to it a million times and then deemed it well worthy of underrated status. It’s very, very simplistic. Often similarly strummed acoustic chords with a few touches of keys or violin. But the instruments which might become tedious anywhere else, here do not.

Borcherdts’ songs do the exact opposite of what dance music does for me. Instead of feeling like some giant dancing organism of faceless drugged up children, one feels like the only person on earth with access to such sweet and humbling material. It is very personal on a level that isn’t embarrassing but very becoming.

Composed of only 7 songs, the CD quickly passes by, so I suggest pressing the repeat button and letting it sink in a few times over. With only a set of rudimentary tools this album does what bands composed of many try and fail to do. It completely fills that part of the brain that wants to devour wonderful music. No tricks, no gimmicks, no naval gazing egotistical playing.

Each song has something to offer. The title track has an almost hypnotic drone and a brilliantly ambient violin solo that nearly made the audience drool at the live show.

The album’s absolute high mark is track five, “Evil Twin”. An indie masterpiece of a song that speaks to any of us who’d rather engage the malaise of a life, rather than just escape it for a fleeting moment. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about this song that I love so much. Perhaps it speaks to a certain situation. Perhaps I’m a sucker for sad acoustic songs with engaging lyrics. But if you get wasted drunk and listen to it, perhaps that might do my point some justice.

So if you get a chance I recommend you buy this album and also try and catch the man live. Though I hear right now he’s co-writing and producing the next “Lights” album…

Life is a very odd and frustrating thing sometimes. But at least the songs are great.


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