“Like I said under September’s full moon, after hearing Brother Earth’s formidable “Out Like A Lion”: ‘It is a little song, scary as hell’. Mark my words.
Brother Earth is the collaboration of singer Steve Five (of a band called The Library is on Fire) and multi-instrumentalist Todd Tobias (of Circus Devils). Their label, Hidden Shoal call their musical project to sound like: ‘Their shadowy, kaleidoscopic music vacillates between brooding textural pieces and exuberant rock-and-roll at the drop of a hat, chasing the ghosts of pop music past into a hall of cracked mirrors.’ Yes, right! Ghosts, that is all true. Brother Earth play ghost-ridden pop, or freaked out drone pop, with hints of psychedelic folk. Dare to be suprised, to be spoked, and thrilled.
Hidden Shoal also say ‘In one moment they sound like Blur, and in the next they sound like…’ Yes, this stroke me as well! I recalled something close to Blur (you might add The Kinks as well, plus, yes… why not, a dusty version of The Small Faces) at some point (check out “Cortez the Cuddler”), but this trace slipped almost the second I heard it. Unfortunately, not all of the songs is as good as “Out Like a Lion”. Not even half as good, or neat as this tangled and twisted little tune. Positive Haywires holds 16 songs (all written by Five and Tobias, respectively lyrics and music), and there for sure as some cool songs among them. Almost as cool as “…Lion”, that is. “Sunny Side of the Street” is super-duper. It is a 1960s styled/kind of pop/rock song. “Lady of the Lake”is likewise cool, but totgally different than the popper “Sunny Side…”, as this one is on the more noir side of Brother Earth’s specter.
The dark and spooky “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be” is another track that sticks on my mind. As is the sparkling “Both Meeting Somewhere We’ve Never Been Before”. This latter song is even better than the former, and is probably one of the best songs on the album. I’d like to mention tw oother tracks worth mentioning, namely the psychedelic folk-rocker “Claustrophobic Headspace” and the slow moving “Planet Wednesday”.
Several of the 16 songs doesn’t fit my taste, but quite a handful (well, all the mentioned titles) fit my taste, please my ears. Just for the fun I’d like to end this review with a quote, well rather mis-quote the Gaudiya Vaishnava (well, Hare Krishna) hindu guru Radhanath Swami. By replacing one ‘M’ with a ‘Br’, we get: ‘When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Brother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection; love is born.’ Peace, love, understanding, Brothers Steve and Todd!”