Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Brothers of North "Stolen Cars"

One genre of music I don’t quite understand is “Indie” rock. Don’t misread that, I’m not saying I don’t like it, I just don’t understand it. “Indie”, of course, stands for “independent”, and started a few decades ago by bands, well, basically being independent. They recorded the music themselves, distributed it themselves, etc. The part that confuses me is; if, say a heavy metal band, like the next Metallica, were to record and distribute music independently, they still wouldn’t be considered “indie” because they don’t have that sound that “indie” bands have; a sound that isn’t harsh and requires the main instruments of a rock band; guitar, drum, bass and vocals, maybe keyboards and other instruments if wanted. These bands don’t sound similar to each other, but they have something in common with their sound that keeps them indie. I guess a better way to describe my confusion is, when did “indie” become an actual sub-genre rather than just a title, and why when a band, such as Metric, becomes big and no longer distributes their own music, are they still considered “indie rock”?

Anyway, that ranting paragraph, which hopefully you didn’t read as negative, was my strange way of introducing this article, which is not on “indie rock” in general, but rather Greater Toronto Area rock outfit Brothers of North. One thing I do enjoy in indie rock bands in general are the bands that mix in a little something extra into their sound. Take the previously mentioned Metric, who has the indie rock sound but heavily mixes new wave influences in to their sound. Brothers of North, too, are not a basic indie rock band. They uniquely include influences of alternative rock, particularly that of such bands as Foo Fighters into their sound.

The band’s debut EP, Stolen Cars, starts off with About A Dog, a good slightly fast paced upbeat indie rocker with drums (played by Tom Mackay) and lead guitars (played by Joe Gallo) that just won’t let up until its listener can’t help but move with the music. The alternative influence doesn’t really start until the song 1990’s, which remains an upbeat sounding track but this time around, Pete Barnes’ bass guitar is more noticeable for more of the song and James Connolly’s rhythm guitar tone is a tad more driven.

Robbery does a unique job of maintaining that same upbeat sound on a song that could have easily been a gloomy, heavy and angry track. It isn’t until Useless Pages where the band shows some different emotion in their song writing. The song is mostly acoustic and though it still isn’t a melancholy track, it does have a lonely feeling to it, as acoustic songs tend to do. That is until the band kicks in toward the end of the song to end it off just right.

Another track that shows a good deal of alternative influence is Serious. Just like 1990’s, the music is a tad bit more driven and noticeable, but unlike 1990’s, this song is a slow and doesn’t have the upbeat feel that most of the album has had at this point. I find this song shows probably the best song writing capabilities by the band because it shows that they can definitely bust out of their element. The blues-bursting guitar solo ending is proof of that.

The EP ends with the longest of the six tracks. Oh My God is a mix of emotions. It starts off very low, and for the first time on the EP, the sound is somewhat of a down nature, giving a melancholy feel. The chorus of the song is very catchy and easy to sing along with. Though the song remains a less than upbeat track throughout, it does pick up with each verse, ending with drums bashing and guitars endlessly strumming. I think this was a well chosen song to end the EP based on how catchy it is, as well as its change of pace from the rest of the album.

Stolen Cars makes me wonder what else Brothers of North has in their arsenal and what the future holds. It is definitely an upbeat EP, a point at many points, but when the band broke out of their element and differentiated themselves from other indie rock bands, with songs such as 1990’s and Serious, the band showed true promise that they are far more than just another rock band.


1990’s” –­ At no other point on Stolen Cars do Brothers of North sound more comfortable playing together. This song sounds like it was written and recorded by seasoned professional indie musicians. It is a good beginner track for anyone to hear by them because it sums up their upbeat nature, their all around sound and it also shows the alternative influence that makes them more than just another indie band.


7.5 (Out of 10)

Track List:

About A Dog  
Useless Pages  
Oh My God  

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