thebrotheregg

thebrotheregg

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Autistic Pop

Band Press

Aortica Mor - The Brother Egg (thebrotheregg) – 2 Louies



review by: S.P. Clarke

Far from the fuel of the inklings of the celebrity press, dwell Adam Goldman and The Brother Egg. Composed of intelligence, wit and invention, The Brother Egg wist in wan shambled shades, easily the equals of Colin Meloy and other Decemberisms. Hard to pin down with the shackles of simile or oblique comparison. XTC and Flaming Lips: at times, but as often as not, mostly just themselves. Quixotic musical chameleons. Passive aggressive. Too smart, perhaps, for their own good.

Goldman sings and mumbles thoughtful lyrics, sometimes, as with “The Arsenic Kiss Of Wet Lips,” rather obscurely. “Penny Farthing” contains glimpses of lyrical grandeur: “I circle like a shark/ I follow like a weekend.” Well, of course he does. But with the lovely waltzes (more frenetically so, the latter) “Dandelion Wildfires” and the strangely compelling “Evening,” a deep, rich melodic sense rises to the fore. With Sam Ross on bass (cello, keyboards, vocals), Tofer Towe on drums (keys, mandolin and vocals and Chris Kalani Gabriel on guitar (keys, clarinet and vocals), joining Adam on guitar (and lead vocal), the ensemble demonstrates estimable euphony, unique and quaintly arcane, with chops and ideas aplenty.

Chanteuse Kaitlyn Ni Donavan, a frequent member, adds violin and viola to tracks such as “Theta Clear” and “Mercury Retrograde,” with occasional guest Jeff Henry contributing rumbling baritone sax and recorders on the latter. The instrumental, “Persanity Insonified,” lives up to its name, a synth (sounding like a theremin) and viola mélange of some specific cosmic gravity, as yet unknown: spacey and alien. Cool. “Wind Chimes” matter-of-factly drops a brief melodic reference to Brian Wilson’s Smiley Smile piece of the same name while rushing headlong breathlessly. “Pincher,” like the first song on the album, mad hatters momentarily (with Kaitlyn adding a vocal) before falling to the floor.

Lords of the flies and frogs swirl and croak before dissolving into “Deep Back Woods,” a woozy daydream: “Flies flutter inside we divide and subdivide.” Well, of course we do. Kaitlyn and Adam sing in scary unison on “Smoke Signals,” with Kait so close mic’ed she sounds like Claudine Longet (look her up) cooing softly on this slippery bossa nova. Adam’s curious, freeform vocal delivery on “What The Zoo Did To You,” cartwheels across a dither of a verse, before alighting with great piquant preciousness upon the line: “Stars move while I remain stationary beneath them,” which is simply gorgeous in its odd, disoriented splendor.

The off-kilter love song “Inventions,” makes perfect sense if you listen to it with one eye closed. “Ravinia” stutter steps in Goldman’s familiar fashion- ram jamming words into melodic syllables like so much sausage into a pliant artistic casing. Frank Zappa (were he still with us) would appreciate some of the anomalously perplexing musical interludes found here. “That One Salty Sea” is a trip down memory lane… for your DNA.

Determined to throw you off the track, the Brother Egg are as elusive as an honest man in a snowstorm. The lyrical stream of consciousness runs tributarily into rivers of not quite understanding. A waterfall rushes. A cloud passes. A bird calls in the distance. Oranges and apples, standing proud and tall together. You know, the Brother Egg are much too good for you and you don’t deserve to hear them. You wouldn’t understand what they were doing anyway. It’s just one person’s inkling.

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thebrotheregg - Aortica Mor (CD, Bingo Lady, Moody pop) – BabySue


Some bands start off with a modest following and then promptly alter their music to cater to a larger fan base...losing their original vision in the process. And then there are bands like thebrotheregg. The band garnered a good bit of attention with their last album (Snowflake and Fingerprint Machine)...but instead of fine tuning their music to reach more fans, they chose instead to take the opposite path. Aortica Mor is a purely artistic effort. The gentlemen in this band aren't trying in the least to come up with a hit. The songs on this album are odd, peculiar journeys into this band's imagination. These cuts are hard to pigeonhole and categorize...yet they are highly inventive and effective. The melodies are like streams that wind and fall down the sides of mountains. Jazzy and subtle pop combines with flashes of progressive rock to create heady and intelligent compositions. This lengthy album (clocking in at over an hour) features wonderfully understated tunes that are simultaneously smooth and unpredictable. Great cuts include "Penny Farthing," "Dandelion Wildfires," "What the Zoo Did To You," and "That One Salty Sea." Great stuff, far outside the norm... (Rating: 5+)