Almost everyone in New Zealand knows Brooke Fraser as a 19 year-old singer-songwriter from Wellington whose debut album What To Do With Daylight catapulted her into the charts with four number one radio hits and sales exceeding seven times platinum.
Her second album Albertine is the sound of Brooke Fraser three years on from that - and we're not afraid to say that you can hear the difference.
It's the sound of Brooke having toured the world with her songs, playing shows as far afield as Japan, the USA and UK as well as her newly adopted home of Australia, where she relocated in 2004. It's the sound of her blossoming love affair with Africa (the album is named for an orphan in Rwanda with whom Brooke has a special bond), of passion for justice, authenticity and faith, and of hanging at her down-under base camp absorbing, reading, watching, talking, mulling over these things.
And all this has been communicated through sound by Brooke and a group of skilled musicians doing what they really love - sitting in a room making great music.
2006 saw Brooke camped out in Los Angeles through a Californian summer, recording Albertine at Track Record in North Hollywood. At the controls was producer Marshall Altman, a recording artist and former Columbia Records A&R director who recently hit success producing Marc Broussard. Engineer Joe Zook had gone from working alongside legendary producer Jack Joseph Puig to recording and mixing for everyone from Modest Mouse and Rufus Wainwright to Pink and Tricky. And on the other side of the glass with Brooke was her new studio band, a bunch of good-hearted and super-talented fellows who have played for stars including Jane's Addiction, Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morrisette, Lionel Richie, Jewel, John Mayer, Sarah McLachlan and more.
"Built by one of the greats, Emmylou Harris, Track Record had all the vibe and history we could have wanted and was the perfect place to record Albertine," says Brooke. "It was void of the mechanical, commercial air that most studios reek of and matched the organic approach we took to making this record."
"One of things of which I'm most proud is that it would not be too much of a stretch to call this album 'live'. I'm thrilled at the way Marshall steered the process, letting the music be what it was meant to be whilst pushing us all as players and reining us in where needed. The tracks you'll hear are not numerous individual session parts being layered over the top of one another by some mouse-clicker in an editing suite - it's me and my friends sitting in a room, making music and meaning what we're playing. Something pretty special happened in that studio which I think all of us were grateful to be a part of. The most appropriate word to describe the experience is 'divine'."
"Deciphering Me" is the lead single picked from the album. This song has the hallmarks that will see Albertine held up as remarkable album. Immaculately crafted pop that is going to stand the test of time for all the right reasons. We're happy to leave the rest to the music so take a listen now and whet your appetite for Albertine.
Brooke also features on recent albums from Hillsong and Tim Hughes in addition to writing for Parachute Band.
Flags Is At A Whole Other Level| Posted January 28, 2011
This album, from beginning to end is stunning. It moves with such fluidity, it's almost as if you're completely there in the story she is singing and the place she is singing it from.
The lyrics carry such weight and would make just as good a case for prose as anything else.
Flags is, generally speaking, poetic in it's entire approach - or at least that's how it comes across to me. Highly recommended.
Awesome| Posted August 07, 2009
Brooke Fraser is an insanely talented singer and songwriter- Albertine is a stellar project, as well as song on the album. It's very subtle but the music grabs you and makes you listen and it's very deep and strong lyrically.
Standouts: "Albertine" "Hosea's Wife" "Deciphering Me"