Album Reviews

Brothers Past – This Feeling’s Called Goodbye

(Collective) UK release date: 27 March 2006

Philadelphia quartet Brothers Past have been steadily building areputation for themselves across the pond in the land of Uncle Sam. It is areputation the basis of which has been visually spectacular gigs constructedaround lengthy dance-orientated jams.

The plot is thickened further with one of the band’s earlier works beingdescribed by one American hack as “one of the first great post-Phishtrance-fusion albums and sounds like Pink Floyd jamming with Sacha and Digweed in Brian Eno‘s bedroom.”

Sounds interesting, eh? And This Feeling’s Called Goodbye is a veryinteresting album, although comparisons with the likes of Pink Floyd andBrian Eno should be immediately quashed in case anyone is getting all hotand sweaty about the prospect of that.

With ex-Lenny Kravitz and Dave Matthews Band producer JonAltschiller behind the controls, this album is a very polished piece of workand much more song-orientated than you might imagine from their previousdescription as a jam-band.

If you were to try to put Brothers Past circa 2006 into a box it couldbe one with a label saying rocktronica on the side; their songs are verycomplex pop-rock affairs doused in synthesisers and all kinds of funnysounds from front man Tom Hamilton’s laptop.

The album opens with Leave The Light On and a synth line reminiscent ofsomething you might hear at Eurovision. Fortunately it does get better whena sudden change sees the introduction of Hamilton’s gruff vocal over somedance breakbeats. There is certainly a lot going on in what is a gooddance-tinged indie opener.

There is lots to listen out for throughout this album, with someinteresting keyboard structures during One Rabbit Race before a surprisesudden ending and then the swirly electronica and gorgeous middle pianosegment on the dreamlike Celebrity.

It would be fair to say that it is the music rather than the vocalmelodies that catch the eye (or should that be the ear?) during the 12-trackrelease. None of the songs are going to trouble the charts, but all make youwant to listen – if only for elements like the mesmorising way acousticguitar is fused with driving dance beat on Forget You Know Me.

You are never quite sure what is around the corner, with a reggae sectionduring Simple Gift Of Man coming as a surprise just as does the spiky TooLate To Call, the only track where the electronics are put to one side infavour of rocking out.

Harmony laden Year Of The Horse is a highlight, featuring some very jollykeyboard work, as is the extremely un-jolly, and verging on creepy, WordsLike Weapons. The album is also cleverly broken up by two short instrumentaltracks – Inhale and Exhale. The latter is particularly impressive, abrilliant slice of folktronica that breezes in and whisks you away to thesea.

If the opening song on the album was rather clich�d, mimicking Eurovision(whether intentionally or not), the last song, Everything Must Go, finishesin a similarly corny way. A beat-heavy number with at the same time a nod tothe Flaming Lips, it ends with all of the instruments suddenly beingcut out and the word “goodbye” being sung.

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Brothers Past – This Feeling’s Called Goodbye