Tag: speak brother

GIG REVIEW – SPEAK, BROTHER – BIRMINGHAM 15/04/18

Embarking on the final date of their album launch tour, indie folk band Speak, Brother have made the last stop near their local area of Birmingham.

Hunger Moon (6.5) opened the show with intense vocal and atmospheric sound. The thing is about Hunger Moon is that in terms of vocal and musical performance, they are almost there, but for stage presence, more needs to be done. Granted, these isn’t a large range of movement that can be done during a heartfelt slow indie ballad, but perhaps the ‘first support jitters’ caused a sense of nervousness among the duo.

Often shows may have little minor issues such as supports quickly pulling out and being covered for a show, often without an announcement, these are largely unnoticed. Fill-in singer/songwriter Joe Dolman(8) smoothly took this place tonight on short notice, still bringing out a high quality performance despite the lack of preparation. Constructing an entertaining balanced set of quick and slower tracks (with the odd bit of on-stage comedy), his set was honestly quite enjoyable and definitely a good fit for the shows lineup.

Relatively well known around Birmingham, Speak, Brother (9) had a large turnout for their close to home show. Having formerly played the Hare And Hounds In November 2017, this atmosphere is nothing new to the indie-folk quintet. It’s almost magnificent how Speak, Brother can transform a small venue sound into something amplified to a greater extent. Both the bursting, powerful choruses of ‘Magnificent’ to the overall drawn out slower collective feel of ‘Slow To Now’, while only opening the show, saw a lovely start to the set.

Being an album release show, it’s inevitable there will be some newer tracks performed, with impactful tracks such as ‘Empire’ and ‘When We Were Young’ receiving elaborate, detailed backstories behind them. Evolving from last performance, vocalist James Herring has improved between song conversations compared to the slightly awkward tuning waits in the prior tour. While this did perhaps ramble a little through the set, it encapsulates just how personal and intricate each track can be, with ‘Empire’ appearing most personal through each member’s performance as well. Bands that can recreate a distinct, almost intricate sound live is hard to come by. Being joined by guest vocalist Kirstie Smith for ‘Father’, the same vulnerable, atmospheric flow of the original recording created beautifully sincere ballad and making a standout performance mid-way in the set.

Of course, anyone who has seen Speak, Brother will know they enjoy involving their audience, getting them to sing along and dance to varying tracks, even altering the setlist for a request of ‘Lions Roar’. There’s no doubt the band can build up tracks in their recorded music, but the inclusion of willing audience members during ‘He’ll Fight’ creates a more ethereal atmosphere, a quality the group base their music on. Even adding a dance competition to their jokey, fun cover of Rusted Root’s ‘Send Me On My Way’ fought its way through to close the show in a different enjoyable fashion.

Speak, Brother are evolving as a band constantly, a difference clearly noticeable between live shows as well as recorded music. A refreshing change for a Sunday night is what can be said about this show, a very lovely refreshing change.

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SPEAK, BROTHER – YOUNG & BRAVE – REVIEW

From the release of their debut EP in 2014 to now, Speak, Brother have done nothing but build-up their strengths all the way to the release of their debut ‘Young & Brave’.

The indie/folk band are no strangers to creating beautifully open stories, nor does this appear to have been any apparent issue within the release. The ‘vulnerable, honest, ethereal’ music never fails to show through all sides, exploring the youthful reminiscence of ‘When We Were Young’, to the evolution story of ‘The Pond Boy’. Yet, the lyrical aspects aren’t just the high points of this album. The cleverly diverse aspects incorporated  into the tracks, such as the beautiful female guest vocals on ‘Father’, which beautifully coagulates to emphasise and amplify the emotion. On the other hand, the carefully layered ending of ‘Empire’ brings a perfect end to not only the track itself, but the album as a whole.

Development is a key factor, most clearly observed within their re-release of ‘Lions Roar’. The evolution of the original 2015 single to now shows not only creative improvement, but also their ever-increasing ability to form a packed track with truly powerful choruses alongside. Even bringing themselves full circle with the re-recorded ‘Two Bands of Gold’ from their debut EP, the band present how they can carefully recreate a track, but still capture the same pure emotion in the honest story and atmospherically stripped back style. It’s clear that every member provides a key part to each track, nothing is left behind, erased or overshadowed. Remove one aspect, be it the carefully laid out guitar patterns to the foundation of the tracks drum beats, the track in no way could be the same, nor reach the same standard.

Speak, Brother offer the rare vulnerability often lost by others in obsessive, overproduction. The balance within ‘Young & Brave’ is one of the aspects that makes this album true to how it should be, nothing is lost. ‘Magnesium Burn’, despite being one of the more upbeat, radio style songs, the deeper lyrical aspect is still found from all depths. As James Herring (Vocals) states: ‘This song comes from a deep well of frustration in my life. There is this deep longing to just run. Run into the dark places… it’s at those places when we’re most uncomfortable and just a about out of control of the outcome, where we really live, grow and become free.’ Through the powerful musicality and vocal aspects of this track, nothing about its true meaning is lost, and this is a talent Speak, Brother truly embrace.

The feelings this album evokes are far from subtle. The complex ethereal sound that Speak, Brother produce is something they have worked for and developed over time. This is a great debut album worth its praise.

Rating: 9.5/10

SPEAK, BROTHER – LIONS ROAR – REVIEW


Speak, Brother, the five piece indie band from the Midlands are on the verge of releasing their new single ‘Lions Roar’ on Friday 3rd November ahead of their new album ‘Young & Brave’ out next April.

The track itself follows a slower pattern but is juxtaposed by a quick drum beat in the verses that then slows into the chorus. This brings a greater emphasis on the chorus, having a different style to the juxtaposing, yet well created verses. While the track follows a similar pace throughout, it never seems to appear repetitive, with powerful choruses dominating the track but still leaving room for quieter verses and an excellent build up in the bridge of ‘Lions Roar’.

Speak, Brother have a good track on their hands. This new single indicates big things for the band, is a strong start for this new material Speak, Brother are stepping forward in to.

Rating: 9/10