Although current regressive forces are always keen to ignore that simple fact but our world does indeed grow together more and more, making borders and national affiliations slowly but steady obsolete. K-Pop boygroup BTS scoring a number one album in the US? Why not? Swedish rapper Young Lean sounding more American than actual US rappers? It’s possible. And his fellow Swedish colleagues First Aid Kit already proved that you don’t need to come from Nashville, Tennessee to fully understand the playbook of Country folk. And in many ways, BRTHR are a band that follows this pattern. Listening to their forthcoming second LP A Different Kind Of Light you immediately think about the iconic influences from J.J. Cale to Fleetwood Mac. Philipp Eissler and Joscha Brettschneider create something old-fashioned and traditional in their music that screams ‘Americana’ all over the place, despite originating from the south of Germany.
However, sounding ‘retro’ however wasn’t a conscious decision as the duo confirms to us. ‘Composing and arranging just happen in a certain way, we don’t try to sound ‘old’. Production-wise, we like certain ‘classic’ sounds,’ they explain. Instead the gentle and soulful sound of BRTHR is often inspired by specific sounds and notions these two like, for example the snare drum sounds on Al Green records. ‘We have things like that as references but at the same time we don’t want our records to sound like they were made in the sixties, we try to do our own thing.’ That ‘own thing’ grew out of a mutual excitement for the same sounds and music and following first occasional gigs as a duo they quickly founded this new band. And yes, leaving the vowels out was indeed a Google-related decision as they say:
‘We really liked „Brother“ as a band name, but chances are your printer has been made by a company with the same name, so … ‘
The vibe on A Different Kind Of Light is carried by tenderness and a certain relaxing vibe that partly drifts into melancholic territory but overall feels more like a harmonious affair. The references are sensible all over the place but instead of focusing on them you should actually avoid a strict analysis in favor of the pure enjoyment. Their fascination for that soulful and true American sound dates way back and although that phrase ‘musical DNA’ might have been a bit overused in recent years, it does indeed perfectly fit to BRTHR. Joscha heard his dad play the iconic Green Onions on a Hammond organ in the living room pretty early in his life and that clearly shaped him. Philipp was first introduced to American folk and blues musicians such as B.B. King and Son House in his teens via his guitar teacher. Tracks like Harder Each Day and Love Me Like You Do breathe that relaxed and thoughtful, yet very soothing vibe that perfectly fits to the current late summer vibe. In many ways the two lads deliver an alternative draft to our accelerated and digital times, showing that faster pace isn’t always the solution. A lot of the group’s slow and groovy was inspired by being on the road a lot.
And that road still often brings them back to their hometown as they confess although their specific sound is in many ways a novelty in Stuttgart as they explain:
‘There’s quite a vibrant music scene over here. You hear a lot of Hip-Hop, Jazz and Punk. While we don’t really feel like outsiders there are not many bands that you could classify as Americana in any way.’
Carried by the positive feedback for their 2017 debut Strange Nights and a successful crowdfunding campaign for its successor BRTHRhave all the confidence it takes to get their wonderful music out into the world. A Different Kind Of Light is a hidden treasure, a feel good record that’s not an ‘in your face’ one. It’s the perfect soundtrack in the car on a long, long trip across the highway or Autobahn. Or as the band also suggest: ‘If you don’t have a lot of driving to do, you can also just sit on your designer leather sofa, spinning our new album on your 10,000$ record player.’ No matter where you’re coming from and no matter where you’re planning to go: This is an album that bridges distances and should not only therefore be on your musical radar.
A Different Kind Of Light by BRTHR will be released worldwide via Backseat on September 7, 2018. Preorder it right here.
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