Quite often new bands form in the ashes of old ones or in the wake of one member leaving to do his own thing. However, Elder Brother formed while the duo was (and still is) with their respective bands. Kevin Geyer of The Story So Far and Dan Rose of Daybreaker formed the band last year as a result of the two wanting to collaborate on a project. Elder Brother’s debut record, Heavy Head, is nothing like The Story So Far and, in the same regard, nothing like Daybreaker. While Geyer and Rose both brought their respective backgrounds to the table, this album will probably not remind too many of their respective bands. If anything, it sounds more like Daybreaker because of Rose’s distinct vocals.
The lead single, “Throw Me to the Wolves,” is a superb representation of the entire record with its combination of simple melodies and intimate lyrics. Lyrically, the song is highlighted by one line in the chorus, in which Rose asks the question many of us wonder when we grow apart from someone we used to be close to. “It never rains, but it poured all week. Did you think of me?”
The strength of Heavy Head also ends up being its detriment. Elder Brother did a fantastic job of establishing their signature sound, which makes the album flow spectacularly from start to finish. However, in doing so, each song sounds extremely similar and creates the allusion, at times, of listening to one song for a half hour. While the band created their own sound on this record, it would have been nice to see some variation from song to song. “Any Sort of Plan” and “Who’s Gonna Carry You Home” are the biggest variation from the punk meets indie meets emo sound on the rest of the album, with mostly acoustic instrumentals and softer vocals from Rose.
Elder Brother showed some promising signs on their debut, Heavy Head, with lyrics anyone will be able to relate to and a sound primed for fans of their bands, as well as bands like Fireworks and Transit. The duo are a great new face in the scene and a band ready for great things if they can play around with a bit of variation on their next record. For now, Heavy Head is an adequate release from a band that has the potential to create top-notch music.
Review by Jonathan Kemp