Review by Shannon Shumaker
To be honest, I was unsure what to expect from Brothers Born’s debut album, Knife Wounds. After all, when you hear “indie-rock” attached to Killswitch Engage’s Joel Stroetzel and Michael Wyzik of Red Door Exchange and Storm The Ohio, it’s hard to imagine what’s in store for you. However, within the first thirty seconds of Brothers Born’s full length, Knife Wounds, I’m absolutely in love.
Right away, Knife Wounds is like audible relaxation. The first track on the album, “In A Moment,” is calming and easy to listen to, but above that, it’s music that makes you feel something. No matter what mood you’re in, I can guarantee that within the first couple of tracks of Knife Wounds, you’ll find yourself feeling at ease and relaxed. The album’s title track is absolutely gorgeous. The simple drumbeat and folky guitars compliment the almost grungy vocal work amazingly, making it impossible not to get lost in the song.
While the first couple of songs on Knife Wounds are more on the mellow, folky side, the third track, “Parachute” is definitely fuller sounding and a little more on the rock side. “Parachute” provides a catchy upbeat tune that keeps the album moving forward without straying too far from the sound that is set with the first few songs. “With Bated Breath,” however, sounds so different from “Parachute,” that I actually had to check to make sure I was still listening to the same band. The change in sound isn’t unwelcome, though. The folky sound on “With Bated Breath” is another great change of pace, and the guitar work and percussion on this track are amazing. After “With Bated Breath,” it becomes apparent that Brothers Born aren’t afraid of jumping from one sound or one mood to another. While “With Bated Breath” is much more fast paced, the following track, “To Lay It Down” is a soft acoustic love song. The quick song and sound changes are nearly enough to give you whiplash, but once you get in the swing of things, it’s easy to admire the incredible songwriting on these tracks. The way that these guys manage to go from one mood to another flawlessly is incredible.
In fact, the songs that are vastly different from one another (“Parachute,” “With Bated Breath” and “To Lay It Down” being perfect examples) are some of the strongest on the album. However, I found that, about halfway through Knife Wounds, some of the songs seemed to blend together a little bit. When they aren’t jumping from one sound to another, its really hard to pick up the “stand out” parts in some of the songs, such as “Lonely Highway” or “The Border Lord.” That’s a pretty miniscule flaw, though, especially considering that there are still strong aspects on each of those songs. (Like the mellow chorus on “Lonely Highway” or the folky picking on “The Border Lord.”)
Vocally, “Until There’s Nothing Left” is one of the strongest songs on the album. The guitar work on this song is deep and beautiful and the percussion work compliments it perfectly. Thankfully, this song comes in just as I’m about to lose interest, reminding me why I was so drawn to this album from the beginning. From “Until There’s Nothing Left,” there are three incredibly strong closing tracks with the darker, “Running Into a Burning House,” the sleepy tune, “8 AM Tail Lights” and the gorgeous final track, “Before Your Eyes.” Knife Wounds beings strong and ends strong, with some incredibly versatile tracks in between, and leaves you feeling refreshed and relaxed by the time it ends.
Listen to "Knife Wounds" or "Until There's Nothing Left"