Music Review: My Double, My Brother

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Enduring a glacial Los Angeles evening, over a hundred students huddled together in an amphitheater on Biola University’s campus to demonstrate their loyalty to Biola-based band My Double, My Brother.  Previously named “The Fragrance,” the band was formed in 2007 by four music majors and frontman Joel Hasemeyer.  Since then, they have become a regular installment in the Biola community, but have also toured all over California and the Midwest.  The show was a release party for their first full-length album, What We Found Beneath The Ground, and after opening sets by Paulie Pesh and Boris Smile, they played the album from start to finish.  Their performance was tight and well rehearsed, and the musicianship was outstanding.  Evan Eliason on fretless bass provided a solid backbone to Matthew Bushyeager’s energetic and creative drumming.  Linzy Spann showed great technical expertise on both keys and accordion, and Andy Leong’s well-placed guitar melodies complimented Joel’s rhythm guitar and lead vocals flawlessly.  They sang of parades and rivers one moment to loss and redemption the next, making poignant statements about suffering and enduring hope.  The songs were never heavy-handed in their delivery, though, as the band seemed to ask as many questions as they answered.

Though What We Found does not stray from what they have already established musically, it does show the band taking large strides toward something unique and imaginative.  This is due in part to their experimentation with texture and form, but it is likely that the main reason they are able to achieve such prowess early on is the irrefutable creativity of every member, each of whom contribute to the songwriting with equal fervor and poise.  This makes for a full, mature sound that, along with superb post production, is strong enough to support their substantial songwriting.  What makes the songs—and the band—distinct is their insatiable energy.  It is present from the start of the album until the very end, punctuated with well-placed moments of quiet openness, as in the stunning “Seed in the Shadow,” or in the opening verses of “They Built Them All To Last” and “The Morning.”  This intensity is present in both the writing and the execution, though it seems to suggest an even greater amount of energy veiled beneath its surface.  They have much more to give, and are only beginning to flex their muscles as musicians and as performers.  Showing such sincerity and potential in their first efforts is a good sign, and if Arcade Fire’s recent Grammy Award domination is any indication of the current musical environment into which they are entering, their determination will pay off.

 

By Kelsey Upward, staff music writer.

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