Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Middle Brother

Middle Brother is gearing up to drop their self-titled, debut album on March 1st [pre-order here with Partisan Records], after which the trio will embark on a West Coast tour that will see them through until their SXSW appearances that include an unofficial Brooklyn Vegan day show on March 18th and their official showcase at Auditorium Shores on March 19th.

Middle Brother features the collaborative talents of John McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes and Matthew Vasquez of Delta Spirit. Each of the guitarist/vocalists represent similar, yet distinct styles reflective of their independent projects. Together their alt-country sensibilities combine for an album that harbors common complexities of the human condition -- most notably the inevitable heartache in love and loss. “Thanks For Nothing,” “Wilderness,” and “Theatre” are fairly vulnerable, country-tinged confessionals from wounded men.

The album fluctuates between contextually heavy, melodically somber tunes balanced by more upbeat, twangy, rockabilly-fused numbers like, “Blue Eyes,” “Middle Brother,” “Someday,” and the catchy, leaked single, “Me Me Me.” The finer moments of this album lay in those high-energy tracks and the earnest, striped-down, sing-a-longs on “Million Dollar Bill” & “Middle Brother” that promise to shine in live performances. This release seems like an appropriate sampler of what's in store on their subsequent tour -- a contagious example of the favorable, fun-filled aspect of today’s “super-group” phenomenon, relative to recent projects by Mister Heavenly and Monsters Of Folk.