“Satan” is a powerful and emotional opener to the album that lays the groundwork for the varying sounds found on ‘Buried’.
Sometimes things just serendipitously fall into your lap, such as this album by Brother/Ghost. While I was busy at ArcTanGent, I ended up receiving a copy of the vinyl pressing of this album. First, I need to get out of the way that the vinyl release is gorgeous. The record itself is a stunning blue/teal/green splatter and it’s wrapped up in a brilliantly printed and glossy cover. The craftsmanship of the product is top-notch, and should be a must buy for fellow collectors.
Onto the actual music, Brother/Ghost was completely new to me when I received the record, and I still know little about the Austin-based band. Made up of members of Brighter Arrows, MANS, and Pswingset, Brother/Ghost formed back in the fall of 2008 and released the critically acclaimed Black Ice in 2009. Due to a two year hiatus and multiple line-up changes, the band has been slowly working on Buried since that time, with the official release this past July.
Buried starts out with the atmospheric “Satan”, a dark Americana track that is littered with elements of doom. The lyrics tell a tale of depression and regret, as the guitars sludge their way through the song. The vocals are layered beautifully on “Satan” and add to the desperation of the story. “Satan” is a powerful and emotional opener to the album that lays the groundwork for the varying sounds found on ‘Buried’.
The music is more relaxing and hopeful, which carefully juxtaposes the darker lyrics. Without this change in tone, the album could come off as too dark.
While Folk and Americana influences are scattered throughout the album, electronic noises also pop up from time to time, most notably on “Harpies”. Doom lovers will enjoy the darker elements of Buried. Most post-rock fans also will be satisfied by the album. Brother Ghost does nothing poorly on this album, a true feat in itself, which lends Buried the opportunity to reach more listeners.
However, there are places within the album for improvement. The lyrics fall a bit weak and unintelligible at times. Certain songs, while stand-outs on their own, can seem a bit repetitive when listened to together. Brother/Ghost seem to still be finding their balance within their sound, which is understandable considering the history of the band. The bright side is that none of these aspects detract from the music itself.
Another highlight from the album is the third track, “Cripple”, which delivers another powerful ballad telling the story of a broken man. Reminiscent of the old Appalachia folk songs that tell tales of despair and woe, this track shows moments of lyrical strength.
Closing track, “Blackdog”, appropriately winds down the album, showing that production had a good critical eye in track placement. While “Blackdog” is not an uplifting song by any means, it also does not carry the depressing weight of earlier tracks. The music is more relaxing and hopeful, which carefully juxtaposes the darker lyrics. Without this change in tone, the album could come off as too dark.
While it’s most likely that fans of the Brother/Ghost’s original release will be ecstatic that this album is finally out, I’m worried that the album will go relatively unnoticed by the rest of the music community. Buried is a hidden gem of 2015 and will intrigue fans from across multiple genres. (8.2/10)
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