I don’t consider CD Reviews to be a strong suit of mine. I’ve written a few. It’s rarely a labor of love. Honestly, writing reviews scares me. I’m not a critic; I’m a cheerleader. I’m not an expert; I’m just a fan. (Albeit a fiercely dedicated one.) But here’s the thing, I have friends in the business. They know they can come to me for an honest opinion. Growth as an artist is essential. It’s important to hear more than just praise and I endeavor to not waste my breath on anything but the truth. I’m the friend that will tell you when you’ve missed the mark.
That being said, I was just a tiny bit apprehensive when I started listening to For All We Know, the new EP by Brother & Bones. What if I didn’t love it? I’ve committed to you, the readers and fellow kindred listeners of my little blog, to only share something when I’m on fire about it. Constructive criticism doesn’t really have a place in these pages.
Rest assured that any doubts I might have had about this album were completely unfounded. I swore my allegiance to this band last year when I first stumbled across Rich Thomas singing ‘Gold & Silver’. I even give them partial credit for this blog ever getting underway, as I was super anxious to feature Brother & Bones in my Favorite Finds of 2011 . But imagine my delight, when fifty seconds after pushing play, I was hooked. The sensory adventure of falling in love with this new collection of songs unfolded effortlessly. I’ve officially entered the obsessive listening loop, and the best part? For All We Know gets better with each listen.
‘I See Red’, the opening song on the EP, wastes no time with introductions. It starts with an attention grabbing bass line and Rich’s smooth vocals invite you to sit in on this aural journey: Turn me loose to easy living, turn me loose to the rain. Roll on roll on – Oh free wheeling. Let your loss be mine to gain. It’s a slow build, tantalizing even. Being a fan of their previous work, I found myself almost holding my breath [in a good way] waiting for the song to release. I knew it was coming, and it doesn’t disappoint — it opens right up and swallows you whole. (see video below)
The title track, ‘For All We Know’, is my personal favorite. I had to give it an immediate second listen before I continued previewing the album. It’s so intense and beautiful you almost miss how devastatingly melancholy it is: I know you’re trying to fill the spaces left by thinking I’d be there, but I held a pack with all the aces — such selfish hands, nothing to spare. The depth and purity of Thomas’ vocals are at their peak in this tune and the percussion is irresistible. It will have you foot tapping and head nodding, which creates an interactive space where you can exist inside the song — somehow partaking on a level that goes beyond that of “listener”. The song tapers off at the end with just Rich Thomas’ voice pleading, Are we lost with these lonely hearts we’ve found? Well, I’ll go against the grain until it wears me down. I’ll be honest, tears started to form. This is truly a stunning love ballad. It’s delivered with such a fierce, driving passion. This passion is the foundation of what makes this five-piece band so phenomenal, so deserving of mass attention.
‘Follow Me Down’ is the powerhouse of the bunch. It’s the song that knits the whole album together. It begins lyrically with a yin-yang poetic longing, I could have been the wings you need — instead of just the ground below. You could be the air I breath, my solace and my stepping stone. The soft finger picking of the guitar, complimented by the subtle drum beat, weave together a tale of yearning, a desperate ache that can only manifest itself in a ruckus crescendo of foot stomping, cymbal clashing, heart-hammering guitar-wailing goodness. THIS is what Brother & Bones is all about! I can say with conviction that if you don’t like this song, you’ve missed the boat. These boys are gonna sail on without you.
The four song teaser wraps with the perfect placement of ‘Wicked Man’. This is a feisty one! Don’t let the intro fool you; the slow and steady rise is a Brother & Bones signature. This is the kind of song that I adore live, but have a harder time fully appreciating during a listening session alone in my room. It needs some room to breathe. I’ll have to give it a go with windows down, gas pedal to the ground. I bet it will make an excellent driving song. Oh, and the bongos that come in about two minutes and twenty seconds into the song — seriously hot.
My one complaint is that the EP is only four songs. These fellas are making a MASSIVE splash, gigging like crazy and winning crowds over one show at a time with their ferocious, heartfelt and passion-filled live performances. But since I don’t currently have access to their live show, I desperately need a full length album to tide me over until they tour state side. Although, I have been known to travel for music. Hmm… maybe London’s calling? 😉
I know this has been lengthy, but please allow me to leave you with my whole-hearted recommendation to head over to iTunes and pre-order For All We Know. It’s release date is November, 12th, 2012. While you are there, purchase their Skin EP and individual songs ‘Hold Me Like the Sun’ and ‘Show Me Love’. (*I’ve listed what US iTunes currently has available.)
*PLEASE WATCH THIS*