A relatively newer band in the Austin scene, Brothers or Not are attempting to bring back loud rock and roll music. Made up of members of three different Texas indie bands (Westbound Departure, Veloura, and the Tastydactyls), Brothers or Not insist that their rock music adds passion and subtracts pretension – and that their band started as an excuse for a group of bro-friends to get together, have a couple of drinks and play some music. What has come out of it, though, is a commendable project and a fair first album that debuted in late June of this year. Pioneer is a six song EP that mixes elements of indie rock and a little country influence into their own brand of straight-forward rock and roll.
Pioneer begins with the track titled “Talk All Day.” The bass guitar comes in first, with a nice little line carrying the tune. Next are the pseudo-whisper vocals, which quickly grow to a sort of speaking/shouting mixture. The song is fair, and there is definitely nothing grating or troublesome in the track, but it lacks to ability to really pull the listener in. “Vixen,” which follows “Talk All Day” on the album, definitely does a better job of getting the listener to nod their head along. The rest of the album follows in a similar vein: verse, chorus, verse, with tracks that are alright, but lacking in thrilling instrumentation or musical intricacies.
Brothers or Not did preface their music by saying it lacks pretension, and it does, but it also lacked a lot of qualities that would have kept me involved in listening to the album on repeat. Each song on the album is a pretty straightforward rock tune, with a guitar riff and loud drums, but the bass does tend to shine through a bit. The track “I am a Pioneer” is probably my favorite on the album, and sounds like a couple of country boys got together to play some music and turned their amps up to 11 – something they are probably striving for on every track. Pioneer won’t become a staple in the Austin music scene, but that doesn’t mean that Brothers or Not can’t come back and shock my eardrums next time.
– Brittany Bartos