Brother & Bones - To Be Alive EP (Last Step Records) 
Brother & Bones - To Be Alive

Release Date: 14th October 2013

I'm a soppy git at times but I'll never apologise for blubbing like a child when the right/wrong song is playing. After what has been an emotionally draining few weeks, I have finally sat down to give this new Brother and Bones EP a listen, knowing full well that these five lads are usually guaranteed to evoke an emotional response from even the hardiest listener. Sure enough, by about half way through opening track 'To Be Alive' I am moist of eye as the combination of Rich Thomas' intimate vocal, the softly but determinedly strummed acoustic guitar and shuffling percussion draws you in to the band's world. The early promise of safety and intimacy is soon blown apart by a huge, festival sized chorus as the rest of the band chime in with their trade mark passion and precision. And there are four more tracks to come, this could be tough going....

The darkly urgent acoustic openings of 'Raining Stone' conjures images of some inexplicable mix of the Memphis swamps and a cold Victorian London doorway but in either scenario nothing good is lurking around the bend. The sheer size and power of 'Raining Stone' is something to behold as well as admire, there aren't many British rock bands with cajones or ambition this size around at the moment. The haunting piano opening of 'Lost As One' should only ever be played by candle light to allow the listener to focus in on every key stroke and lip smack as Thomas sings a gentle, heart rending lament full of regret and remorse. Needless to say, by the time the slide guitars, gentle percussion and plodding bass notes come in I am a wreck but, and I can't stress this enough, if music doesn't make you feel something - good or bad - then it is utterly, utterly pointless.

The hypnotic opening bass riff of 'Long Way To Go' is like a boat being gently tossed on the waves, not far from shore in the dead of night but as the waves grow in intensity so the song builds and the tempest is in full flow by the time Thomas leaves you with the words "Did you cry just to make yourself be heard?" The final track on this EP, 'Gold and Silver', is a treat for long time fans of Brother and Bones as this is a live favourite that sees this swirling, snarling beast of a band pause to regain composure and gently implore the sweating, heaving throng to look within themselves to find the real riches of life. "Gold and Silver means nothing to the blind" might sound like a trite line to some but in this context it is the most direct and honest way of making the point that a generation seems to have missed on an alarming scale - it's the "money can't buy you love" message repackaged and not before time.

With a packed live schedule coming up over the autumn following on from another successful festival season, things are still moving in the right direction for the quintet but I hope someone starts giving these guys some serious airplay soon or I'll be forced to write a strongly worded letter. Especially if they keep playing Robin Cocking Thicke instead of music with a soul and a heart. Right, hand me a tissue, that's enough emoting for now!

More information:
Live Dates:
5th October - Fleche D'Or, Paris (supporting Boxer Rebellion)
11th October - The Forum, London (supporting Boxer Rebellion)
12th October - Portland Arms, Cambridge
13th October - Brudenell Games Room, Leeds
14th October - The Deaf Institute, Manchester
16th October - The Temple, Birmingham
18th October - Louisiana, Bristol
19th October - The Haunt, Brighton
20th October - Joiners, Southampton
21st October - Cellars Portsmouth
23rd October - Winchester, Bournemouth
24th October - The Acorn, Penzance
25th October - The White Rabbit, Plymouth
26th October - Kings Arms, Georgham (Acoustic Show)
27th October - The Live Room, Taunton
29th October - Mama Stones, Exeter
30th October - The Arts Centre, Bridgewater
1st November - Moles, bath
2nd November - Moon Club, Cardiff
3rd November - Sin City, Swansea
9th November - Boileroom, Guildford
10th November - The Bullingdon Arms, Oxford
11th November - Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes
15th November - Mello Mello, Liverpool
16th November - Think Tank, Newcastle
18th November - Fruit, Hull
19th November - The Duchess, York
20th November - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
22nd November - Broadcast, Glasgow
23rd November - Cafe Drummond, Aberdeen
24th November - 20 Rocks, Dundee
25th November - The Bodega, Nottingham
27th November - The Musician, Leicester
28th November - Bucks Uni, High Wycombe

29th November - Open, Norwich