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The Belle Brigade Brings Fresh Harmony To The Echo

article and photography by L. Paul Mann

The Los Angeles based duo The Belle Brigade has taken up a residency at the Echo nightclub in their hometown. The band played the first of four Tuesdays in February, on the 4th, to a large diverse crowd of ardent fans. The brother and sister duo, Barbara and Ethan Gruska were joined by a sessions bassist and keyboardist for their masterful performance. The Belle Brigade, which have been a band since 2008 and released their first album in 2011, have often been compared to some of the top retro rock bands, with some of the same pleasing and intricate harmonies of their predecessors. The national music press like to compare them to bands like The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkle, and most notably, Fleetwood Mac. The Fleetwood Mac comparison is valid, not because their musical style is similar, but because their vocal harmonies, at times, bear an eerie resemblance to early Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks recordings.

The band played a spirited set at the echo, featuring much of their yet to be released new album, “Just Because”. Ethan plays a formidable lead guitar, fluctuating between poppy rhythms and an explosive experimental jam style. Barbara, who is already a veteran rock drummer, has toured with well known performers like Fiona Apple. The pair have no trouble multitasking as crack rock musicians, while offering up their soothing harmonies. The pair have proven to be astute songwriters, as well, offering up interesting and introspective lyrics, covering a wide range of subjects. Together, with their bandmates, the Gruska’s offered up a fascinating ninety minute set of original music, that had the near capacity crowd singing and dancing their praises. Their sophomore album is set to be released on March, 25th and may be just the ticket to move this bright new band into the mainstream of American pop culture.

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