Andy Oliveri and the Mountaineers – Call Them Brothers (Album Review)        

We’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. It started early here, with Andy Oliveri and the Mountaineers picked as our Artist of the Week back in December. They we’re also one of our Must Hear Bands of 2017 in issue #15 of the magazine. So, lots of anticipation was put onto the band’s debut album, Call Them Brothers.

But did it fulfil expectations…?

Yes. It did.

From the start of this release to the jarring end, prepare to be entwined into a soaring musical landscape, one that has undergone an incredibly complex production process. There are so many tiny points of aural reference just in the opening track; minute crackles and moments of fuzz, which in a live setting would be expected, but within a recording are clearly deliberate. As ‘Where The Wild Flowers Grow Fondly’ gently progresses towards vocals this album really takes a new shape and sense of purpose.

As with his previous lonelier folk persona, Oliveri’s song writing teases the emotive cracks into his vocal and instantly tugs on your heartstrings. Behind the effortless emotive vocal hides a sun drenched backing which creates an almost haze like feeling and as the track progresses positivity slowly begins to add power and depth vocally. By the end, angular guitars combine with the pleasant fuzz to create a level of euphoria which slides delicately into the introduction to the next track.

The intros and outros to these tracks create an album that plays as a single piece of music with a real sense of purpose. Tracks nicely blend into each other, often with one theme following the gap in the tracklist whether it’s warming feedback or a deep bassline they all ultimately head in one direction creating flowing purpose.

There is a wonderful contradiction to the continuous flow of this release when it ends on an almost surprising jolt. This abrupt ending is enough to create the question ‘has something gone wrong?’ on first listen but on second listen it just feels like being released from the grasps of the album.

The musicianship has been captured and possibly manipulated to create soundscapes which build and, at times, crash into feedback soaked moments before building once more. It is in these moments of technical combinations that the album is catapulted further into brilliance. Angular guitars meet soaring synths all backed by the constant basslines to create the surf inspired sound. In the drums there is variety; at times cymbal heavy and at times there is a nod towards the long forgotten noughties funk punk. All considered, these combinations work their way into an end goal of individuality with maximum effect.

Despite the clear shoegaze, surf and post hardcore influences, including a polite nod towards Husker Du on ‘Sky Candy Apple’, there is certainly more to Call Them Brothers than that. The musical hooks and the catchy choruses create an accessibility which is rare within a musical style that favours distortion and feedback. Testament then to the musicianship and songwriting; taking direct influence from abrasive and left field genres and creating something completely the opposite.

It’s a clever, individual release, with just the right amount of accessible ‘hits’. A combination that should see Call Them Brothers grace multiple end of year/breakthrough lists, and rightly so.

Call Them Brothers is out on March 3rd via Istartedthefire Records.


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