Among Brothers
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Among Brothers

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Band Pop New Age


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"Among Brothers - Homes - E.P Review"

Only a few weeks into the year and we're off to a promising start. Eclectic doesn't always work, but this ingenious mix of folk instrumentation, strings, multilayered 90s US indie-style vocals, electronics/sampling and intricate song structures is strong recommended. They also sound loads like a band called Anathallo, which is a good thing.

4 stars. - Buzz Magazine

"SWN 2010 - Day"

Among Brothers played a storming set on the Barely Regal stage in Dempseys. The group mixed energetic drum playing with delicate vocals topped off with some melancholic violin playing to create a sound which sets them well apart from your average band. The group's experimental edge was intensified with their use of laptop produced melodies which threw up some similarities to bands like Radiohead. However, they most certainly had their own distinct sound which stood out from other new and upcoming bands. Great gig from a band who deserve more recognition. - Gig Guide Wales

"Buzz Chart: Among Brothers"

Having introduced themselves with the excellent Zero Years compilation last Spring, Cardiff based label Barely Regal have moved on to release the debut EP from Among Brothers. Featuring both of the label’s co-founders, Among Brothers are a six piece chamber pop outfit, combining jittery electronic rhythms with a colorful mixture of guitar, keys and violin. Although this might be a well trodden path, the band’s purposeful and emotive songwriting makes this EP a compelling listen.

Things start very brightly with ‘Montgolfier’, the record’s first and possibly best song. Serving as a welcoming opening statement, the use of choral vocals creates a terrific urgency and drives the song through it’s modest 2 minute length. Comparisons to Efterklang will inevitably be made here but this is no criticism, as few bands could pull this off with such conviction. Arguably the song stops a little short (it really could go on for a lot longer), but its short length whets your appetite nicely.

From here, the results are more mixed, but there are flashes of inspiration throughout. Particularly album closer ‘Great Famine Family’ which runs ‘Montgolfier’ close for the EP’s best track. Again choral vocals are used effectively here, creating a euphoric climax punctuated with intimate piano and subtle electronic glitches. In fact, the barely-there electronic bleeps and scuffles are particuarly effective, perhaps another nod to early Efterklang records.

While ‘Homes’ is a strong first release by any standard, there are also signs that there is something better to come from Among Brothers. For Barely Regal, too, this is another promising release from a growing indie label. - Caught In The Crossfire

"Among Brothers, ‘Homes’…"

Homes is the debut release from Cardiff-natives Among Brothers. Building on the ambitious bedroom demos that were featured on Barely Regal Records’ debut compilation Zero Years of Barely Regal, the six-piece have put together a carefully considered and beautifully crafted collection of songs that showcases both their musical abilities and breadth of scope.

Taking influence from the orchestral sounds of Efterklang, Anathallo and Sufjan Stevens, Among Brothers fuse an amalgamation of inspiration and instrumentation to interpret their simmering post-rock fusions and sweeping soundscapes that are scattered with glitching electronics that quietly collide with hushed piano-laden melodies. In a live environment these encompassing sounds surround their audiences, and this is an intrinsic element that has been implemented onto the band’s recordings.

Alex Comana may be the band’s lead vocalist, but the group’s gang vocals are an integral part of Among Brothers’ sound. From the opening track ‘Montgolfier’ and its words chanted over stuttering electronics paired with gliding strings, right through to the soft, choral ensemble on closing song ‘Great Famine Family’, these various vocals sung in unison bring a sense of the collective to the otherwise broad range of sounds and instruments that Homes has to offer.

Nestled deep within the band’s music are themes and narratives that take the listener on a journey within each track. This does not detract the music away from its central idea as a record as might be expected, rather it presents the songs as a series of tales. ‘Sam, Isaiah and the Wolf’ and its title alone is enough to evoke faded memories of fairytales and its lyrics are a vessel for conjuring up dream-like visions: “The words that swept us off our feet/ Hand in hand we stowed away/ Or twitching into open fields / Come cracking in to ground softening between our toes/ Waterlogged, the river found its way to us.” Later, on during ‘Bare Teeth’ these otherworldly allusions to every day life come back into effect, and lines such as “I appear as concrete and glass/ With a taste for copper and wine/ Suddenly into the landscape we collapse in the street” hint at menace within normal, everyday circumstances. Elsewhere, the sound of a child’s music box, imitated by glocks and keys evoke childhood nostalgia and further cement the music with the fairytale-like narratives that are self-contained within each song.

What’s most striking about the six-piece’s EP is that for a debut, it’s staggeringly well produced. Attention to detail is one of the record’s strengths, and the inclusion of tiny, almost inaudible elements such as irregular electronic beeps and the sounds of scissors cutting away give the record a hint of the everyday playing out in the background and surround the band’s music with a certain charm. These noises also occasionally intertwine with lyrics, such as when steady tapping can be heard beneath the words “I heard the clicks of typewriter keys/ Typing the words that we yelled on the streets” during ‘My Head Is A Vessel’. Meanwhile the band’s use of strings echo those of Grammatics, not detracting away from the more industrial edge that their music contains, but instead highlighting the gentler nature of the music’s dual temperament.

The record ends with ‘Great Famine Family’ and the group’s repeated mantras of “Washed in salt and dried in dirt/ They made my bed below the earth.” At over seven minutes long, ‘Great Famine Family’ is a vehicle in which Among Brothers are able to demonstrate their numerous influences and styles. Over its running time the song metamorphoses from its electronic beginnings, through to group singing, followed by an eruption of all instruments, through to quiet piano melodies and soft solos. After a brief pause the group return with their characteristic chanting and the ending sentiment of “Feel the plates beneath your feet once more/ Lay down your head and know that I’m below.” This combination of approaches, instruments and formations within one song perfectly encapsulates the impressive amount of ideas packed into the EP’s 23-minute running time, and allows the listener to immerse themselves in the songs’ individual stories. Homes is an extremely promising debut, one that not only exemplifies the band’s musical abilities, but also the range of potential within Among Brothers’ numbers that shows that there are still better things to come from the band in the future.
- Snapshots & Snippets

"Among Brothers - Homes - E.P Review"

Homesis Among Brothers’ debut release, following on from the bands bedroom demos, which garner them significant attention and a listing as one of Bethan Efyns top 10 Welsh tracks of 2010. It’s also the second release from Cardiff based Barely Regal records, the label started by two of the members of Among Brothers.

The five tracks featured on this E.P were recorded in August 2010 at Music Box studios, with legendary producer Charlie Francis (Victorian English Gentlemans Club, Sweet Baboo, REM). It clocks in at around 24 minutes of music.

The group primarily indulges in ambitious orchestral pop. The majority of the music comprises of lush orchestral textures, piano and the ubiquitous twinkle of the glockenspiel. This collides expertly with electronically generated sound, which takes the form of looped rhythmic staccato notes, adding blips and stuttered beeps to the sound scape. Vocals are chanted by multiple voices, the combination of which adds richness to the dramatic melodies.

Comparisons with Efterklang are inevitable and right on the money. The stuttered, looped electronics are especially reminiscent of the Danish collective, as are the hypnotic vocal chants.

The standout track for this reviewer is Sam, Isiah and The Wolf, an update on the bedroom demo which gained the group their initial exposure. This piece moves seamlessly through various movements of stuttering electronic loops, lavish orchestration, flourishes of percussion and beautifully emotional harmony vocal.

Elsewhere, opener Montgolfier serves to showcase the broad spectrum of sounds found across the E.P in a concise two minute build, from an Efterklang-esque electronic loop, through clattering percussion and chanted vocal lines to a lush string swell. Bare Teeth is an emotional piano based piece, backed by a strong rhythmic pulse. Closer, Great Famine Family runs past the seven-minute mark with some fantastic chanted group vocals. These especially show the excellent production in the blend of vocals, with a female voice adding sweetness to the sound.

A personal favorite moment occurs in the breakdown of second track My Head Is A Vessel as percussive clicks reference the lyric ‘and I heard the clicks/of typewriter keys/printing the words/we yelled on the street’

All in all a fantastic release thoroughly recommended.
- Beat Review

"EP Review: Among Brothers – Homes"

Finding home on Cardiff's Barely Regal Records Among Brothers are a six piece who count a violinist amongst their number. Homes is their first proper release and gets the dubious honour of being the first thing reviewed on Keep Pop Loud in 2011.

The five song release opens with the oddly titled 'Montgolfier', a miniature epic that announces itself with Efterklang style clattering percussion and some hasty group vocals that it's easy to compare to the most recent Los Campesinos! album. So I will. In reality this is barely more than an introduction to what is a début EP but it manages to be much more. It surpasses it's status and title and stands very much on its own.

Across Homes Among Brothers combine their influences into something organic, spacious and engaging. Take centre-point 'Sam, Isaiah and the Wolf' which showcases an organic rural sound. Combined with the straining of the vocals this helps bring to mind the sadly defunct Leeds heroes Grammatics at their most considered.

Elsewhere 'Bare Teeth' begins with the warm minimalism of Four Tet and adds little other than vocals for the first third before a break reveals a piano and violin. The maudlin sounds offer aural representations of wind and rain lashed spring days. There’s something about it that has the ability to transport us to the rained off days of our childhood. It’s pretty special really and perhaps the best track on the EP.

Closing Homes is 'Great Famine Family'. With a long running time of over seven minutes it doesn't outstay its welcome. Ideas are run and space utilised to the fullest, taking everything to conclusion. The “ba-ba-da” vocals bring to mind a dreamy sea shanty, an image reinforced by the lyrics “Washed in salt and dried in dirt, they made my bed below the earth”. Meanwhile the glockenspiel and naïve electronic sounds juxtapose a Boy Least Likely To twee-ness.

Interesting and accomplished. For a debut EP Homes introduces Among Brothers perfectly. Not as loud as some pop I may champion here, but reflective beauty rarely comes any better. For a band with so much going on musically it’s refreshing to hear this sense of space too.

For those who’d be put off by the ‘gentler’ tag – don’t be. This is as gripping as any faster paced music, but allows you to simply get lost in the ebbs and flows that come with the collision of instruments and styles if you so wish. For a combination of indie rock set-up and hushed electronics, finished off with a last gang left on the moors loneliness you can't go wrong here. - Keep Pop Loud



Homes EP (2011)


Zero Years Of Barely Regal - 'Sam, Isaiah And The Wolf'

The 405 Heroes Of January And February - 'Great Famine Family'



Among Brothers are a 6-piece band from Cardiff,
often compared to Efterklang, Anathallo, and
Grammatics. They fuse electronic rhythms, theatrical
chants and percussive flourishes to create vibrant
pop-influenced arrangements anchored by narrative
themes. January 2011 saw the release of their debut
EP, Homes. Released on their own label, Barely
Regal Records, the 5 track debut has garnered
critical acclaim from regional and national press.

"The most exciting thing about Cardiff this spring" - The Fly

"Delicate, brooding and beautiful" - Jen Long, BBC Introducing

"One of the festival highlights" - John Rostron, SWN Festival organiser

"Homes is a beautifully styled and thoroughly emotive EP" - The 405

'Sam, Isaiah and The Wolf' listed in Bethan Elfyn's (BBC Introducing) Top Ten Songs of 2010