Go­ing na­tive

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - JIM CAR­ROLL

OUR BROTHER THE NA­TIVE Make Amends for We Are Merely Ves­sels Fat Cat

“Epic” is prob­a­bly the best word to use. Yes, that will do nicely for now. It’s clear from the out­set – ac­tu­ally from the mo­ment you clock the band name and album ti­tle – that Our Brother the Na­tive take gi­gan­tic, am­bi­tious strides. What’s the point in star­ing at your feet when you could be gaz­ing at the stars?

Our Brother the Na­tive are three young­sters from Michi­gan and Cal­i­for­nia, and their sec­ond album comes with familiar ties. There are the quiet-loud-quiet sonic cathe­drals un­der whose spires Sigur Rós and friends gather to wor­ship. There are the dreamy, creamy ex­panses of fluffy sounds much beloved of the new shoegaz­ers. There are flashes of ex­per­i­men­tal bril­liance to re­mind you of An­i­mal Col­lec­tive and friends at their most way­ward. There’s also the odd pas­sage when the band re­fresh­ingly just yell it all out with a blood-cur­dling scream or two.

Our Brother the Na­tive cer­tainly know about tim­ing. As each track builds from am­bi­ent in­ter­fer­ence and hazy flut­ters into a wall of sound and drones, the play­ers con­trol each break and move­ment. It’s this abil­ity to tem­per ex­cesses with com­pelling sonic dex­ter­ity that makes such tracks as We Are the Liv­ing and As They Fell Be­neath Us into grace­ful, el­e­gant fu­sions of sound and fury.

Yet Make Amends . . . is more than just the sum of its post-rock parts. There’s a the­matic in­ten­sity in the lengthy pas­sages of mu­sic, which build and re­coil with rasps, rack­ets and roars. Our Brother the Na­tive valiantly at­tempt to ar­tic­u­late some­thing other than just emo or hard­core’s usual ob­ses­sion with post-apoca­lyp­tic en­nui, or the beau­ti­fully pitched but ul­ti­mately empty-headed tex­tures of dream-pop.

Th­ese kids know that some­times it has to be more than just about putting blood – or beauty – in the mu­sic. It may take them an­other album to re­alise just where this search will lead, but it’s a jour­ney you’ll be glad to take with them. www.mys­pace.com/our­broth­erthe na­tive

Down­load tracks: We Are the Liv­ing, Re­joice, As They Fell Be­neath Us

Band of brothers: tem­per­ing ex­cesses

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