6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
So the hype has set your expectations high?,
This review is from: Brother Sister (Audio CD)
Where to begin? As much hype as this record has received I didn't believe my expectations could be met. Boy was I wrong. In fact, this may be a dark horse candidate for album of the year. And with gems out this year like TV on the Radio's "Return to Cookie Mountain," Thom Yorke's "The Eraser," Anathallo's "Floating World," Band of Horses "Everything All the Time" and The Format's "Dog Problems," that's saying a lot.
This record exhibits more depth than past releases. Where "Catch for Us the Foxes" showed that the band was capable of far more than they let on in "A->B:Life," "Brother, Sister" shows an even further and more promising progression. In some ways an amalgam of their previous two releases and in other ways something completely new and special, we hear almost right away that the band has been busy evolving. Vocalist Aaron Weiss is our first example of progress as he has taken a greater interest in actually singing. While this is nothing new, the frequency with which he colors his poetry with melody has increased significantly. It seems that he is beginning to discover that power of his fragile voice as he has also begun to expand the expressive range of his "speaking" voice, ranging from a soft spoken introduction in "Messes of Men," to the now familiar shouting.
Of course, our progress doesn't stop there. While the band tends to lean more heavily on musical textures reminiscent of those found on "...Foxes," they also bring back a little bit of the post-hardcore found on their debut, all while expanding on both of those sounds and expanding their instrumentation to included harp, accordian, acoustic guitars and brass. All of these instruments lend a depth to their sound that has always been alluded to in the past, but not really fleshed out completely until now. Even their new way of using backing vocals gives them a newfound power, with the other band members sounding like a broken choir. As an added bonus, we get a guest appearance by the unmistakable Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft). Normally the use of a guest vocalist doesn't lend much added depth to a song. Not the case here. Enigk's high, shredded cry brings a chilling effect to the backing vocals on "Dryness and the Rain," as well as to the not-so-background vocals on "O, Porcupine."
Perhaps the most accomplished aspect of this record is its construction. Though each song works well on its own, it's really the experience of the record as a whole from start to finish that helps it stand out. Even more impressive is their ability to convey a sense of the epic without resorting to epic song lengths.
Lyrically, this release is just as strong as ever, if not their strongest yet. However, this album is also their most "christian" album, frequently referencing the likes of Moses, Job, and, of course, Jesus. Those turned off by such blatantly religious content shouldn't be too disauded as Aaron's lyrics tend to come across as more personal than preachy.
If you didn't know before, you should know now: this is a band to watch in the coming years. Having a record this accomplished this early in their career is impressive enough, but having each one out-do the last is more rare still. Check this album out. You won't be disappointed.