Elder Brother

Heavy Head

Written by: LF on 01/06/2014 21:14:32

Elder Brother is a relatively new constellation, the only dedicated members so far being guitarist Kevin Geyer of The Story So Far and vocalist Dan Rose of Daybreaker. On their catchy debut album "Heavy Head" they are joined by musicians Charles and Matthew Vincent from The American Scene on drums and bass, and of those three band names the mellow indie rock of Elder Brother is mostly similar to the latter.

Now, I came across this album mainly because I am a huge fan of The Story So Far's urgent and honest take on pop punk, and as such I had pretty high hopes when it turned out that Elder Brother wasn't going to be just a casual, slow-paced side-project. I'm happy to say that in the two months I've been spinning "Heavy Head", it has not disappointed me one bit, and without getting tired of it at all I can easily play it several times a day. Geyer and Rose have weaved a wonderfully downplayed sound that, while not highly inventive, is just too solidly produced and well-executed in all its melancholic simplicity to pass up.

"Webs" has grown to be my favorite song on the record, mainly because of blue lyrics like "Is it me or is wondering a decent state of mind?" and "If you never ask me anything / I'll never have to lie". The melody of the chorus that goes "I'm not looking for anything / I just wanna listen to explosions from my bed" gets me every time, especially the second line. Rose's vocal work on the album in general is incredibly expressive and filled with addictive melodies that are somewhat unusual, sounding like they are just genuinely flowing from his mouth as he is emotionally inspired by the words he sings. Apart from "Webs" this is also very evident in songs like "Lightning Bug", "In My Bones" and "Any Sort Of Plan". But the melodies are not the only impressive parts of the record, and the melodically more straight-forward songs like "Sunday Mornings", "Throw Me To The Wolves" and "Who's Gonna Carry You Home?" are incredibly strong as well, equally when they feature only guitar and vocals or a full band.

What really hits the spot with me about this record, is the way it feels like a truly sympathetic presence that can comfort you when you're feeling scared of life, yourself or dealing with similar existential anxieties in the small hours of the morning, for instance powerfully, yet very simply expressed through the lyrics of title track "Heavy Head": "Does anybody know the best way to get home? / It's getting late and I'm afraid of my own shadow". The most magnificent thing about this is that Elder Brother achieves it with every word and every riff, sounding equally impressive on their slow, acoustic songs as on the more energetic and determined ones.

So while not musically an inventive record, I am unable to grade it any lower than this, as it does present us with a band that has managed to put together a recognizable sound with the characteristic elements of Geyer's melancholic guitar-play and Rose's emotional vocal work. I am definitely not done with this album yet, and I would suggest it to everyone I know, regardless of their genre-preferences, because this album successfully expresses something that's so deeply embedded in any human existence that I believe it can speak to anybody.


Download: Webs, Lightning Bug, In My Bones, Who's Gonna Carry You Home?, Throw Me To The Wolves, Sunday Mornings
For The Fans Of: Misser, The American Scene, Transit, Real Friends, Matchbox Twenty, Daybreaker, (acoustic) The Story So Far
Listen: facebook.com/elderbrothermusic

Release date 11.03.2014
Pure Noise Records

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