Already the subject of much industry hype before they’d barely had time to build a website, you might forgive Slough-based rising stars Brother (Leonard Newell, Josh Ward, Samuel Jackson, Frank Colucci) for attempting to avoid the tag of the ‘next big thing’. Not a bit of it. “We’re going to embrace it and prove them right,” singer Lee Newell told Live4ever in a recent exclusive interview. It sets the tone for a chat which showcases all the confidence and passion of a band destined for big things.
This infectious belief is one of the main reasons why everyone from The Sun‘s Gordon Smart to respected DJ Steve Lamacq have been quick to pass their own judgements on Brother, hoping for an injection into a music scene which some, including Mani and Nicky Wire, have been quick to criticise. “They are right,” Lee told us. “New bands are too scared to have an opinion or too scared to have any ambition. We’re not. We’re going to bring guitar music back.”
Comparisons have already been made to the best of Nineties Britpop, but while the brief, brash and spartan, single ‘Darling Buds of May‘ might lazily be compared with early Oasis, it seems happier to stand alone than the Beatles-obsessed Gallagher brothers. Besides, it owes much more to ‘60s garage rock than jangly merseybeat pop; those unaffected, pre-punk hard edges put Brother’s first single into the oft-overlooked musical category of Wait, Play That Again…
On those comparisons, Lee admits to a ambivalence to new music, but insists the band’s main inspiration pre-dates the peak of Britpop. “I don’t listen to anything new,” he told Live4ever. “I’m a big fan of The Smiths. Morrissey is the last living musical icon. Stone Roses are another big on for me. We all listen to different stuff.”
‘Darling Buds of May‘, bounces along beautifully, eagerly taking long, confident strides into well-guarded chart territory. Not content to merely roll with it, the pace is more akin to bounding down steep hillsides, realising you’re going too fast to stop, then getting caught up in the thrill of the velocity and the rhythm.
The band will release a fresh, Stephen Street-produced version of the single next February, so how did they first meet the legendary producer? “Stephen heard us on the radio and got in contact,” Lee reveals. “He is such a great bloke. To work with someone that has recorded some of our favourite albums is a dream.”
The track will be accompanied by a new video, following in the footsteps of ‘New Year’s Day‘, a promo which is enough to make anyone jealous of the kind of nights out they have… “Haha yeah. We’re filming a video for ‘Darling Buds of May‘ next week,” he confirmed. “We just had a chat about it actually. It’s going to be ridiculous. No nudity though.”
Like most bands with a clear, burning ambition, Brother’s initiation stemmed from a desire for change, and to search for a future which offered more than the daily 9-5 grind. “I remember working in an office block for Yellow Pages. I just couldn’t handle it,” Lee says. “Waking up at 8am everyday to let some shit head make you feel worthless just isn’t right. If you hate your job, fucking quit!”
Fortunately the way out was already being carved amongst a group of friends brought together by their local scene. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” Lee explained. “We all met at local gigs in Slough/Reading. I remember thinking Frank was the best drummer I had ever seen live. We all got on and we wrote some songs together.”
Brother are out on the road well into the new year, dates can be found on their Facebook page, and heavy touring is another facet of being a bright, young band which Brother are relishing. “We just want to play. That’s all we’re good at,” Lee said.
Finally, with Lee confirming to us they hope to have their album completed ‘by the end of January’, we asked what the band’s hopes are for 2011? “We’re going to put guitar music back on the radio,” was the firm response.
Brother seem to grow on you, if only because their first push caught you completely off guard. Listen again, and this time don’t forget to “ooooh”.