East of West
House of Doc
Pacific Music

Hailing from Winnipeg, House of Doc’s third album East of West celebrates love, life, and Canadian sensibilities in a light, amusing way. 

Upbeat, folksy, and altogether jovial, this album provokes the lighter side of everything mundane and shifts the emphasis to family life, escaping the plight of urban noise and reverting to a frugal, simple sound. This is furthered by the altogether familial relation between the members – the group is made up of Matthew Harder, his wife Rebecca and her brother Dan Wiebe. At the first listen, one cannot help but draw parallels to the score of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but a version more preoccupied by the Canadian landscape.

Tracks such as “Summerstone” and “Milk and Cookies” are brimming with an optimism that can only be fully backed up by harmonicas and banjos. However, the album as a whole is more profound; in particular, “Simple Times” is a song recorded by one single and immaculate take. Flanked by stripped down, harmonic tunes, East of West has that honest, human quality about it that is only truly appreciated by the humble.

Rebecca Harder croons hypnotically in “Lullaby,” giving it a soulful and melodic contrast to some of their more upbeat, bluegrass tracks. Also, the final track brings the album full circle with a secret song – when was the last time anybody did that?