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The Harmed Brothers – Across The Waves

What is it about indie bands?
Any time I listen to an indie band I feel like I’m getting an authenticity that I can’t find anywhere else. It’s funny, because it’s these bands that have the most to lose. You would think the small band that’s spending a lot of their own money might want to sacrifice something to “fit in a box,” but I find it to be quite the opposite. Every indie band I hear seems to be handing you their heart with every note they play, and this band is no different.

I don’t know a whole lot about The Harmed Brothers, and from reading their Facebook page, their story is one that is very transient. They say that Ludlow, Kentucky is where they have landed at this point, so I’ll call them an indie quintet from Kentucky, but just know that it’s complicated. They are on a label called Fluff and Gravy Records, which leads me to another indie trait. All the label names are pretty gosh darn cool or creative. I like it.

Let’s talk about what really matters here – the music. 
Getting to know an indie band is like dating; you smile at each other, find each other attractive, and then you start trying to adapt to the other person’s quirks. There’s always something you find bothersome or weird, but that can be part of the attraction. I think we vow to overcome our own lifestyles and opinions to adapt to that wonderfully weird person’s flaws. Getting it to work makes life an adventure, and The Harmed Brothers offer that in a musical format. Listening to this record, I find myself wanting to spend more time on our relationship because I enjoy their companionship. I don’t always want to walk on the same path, but The Harmed Brothers are cool to walk with, so I try to adjust.

I hear the influence of 90’s rock bands like Toad The Wet Sprocket and Gin Blossoms. The sound of this record centers around a deep and serious kind of Americana. You’ll hear a lilting organ vibrato on a few of these tracks, along with an Eddie Vedder-like tone and meaningful lyrics. The song “Where You’re Going” has an organ hum and swirl that mixes psychedelia with a country-type of guitar drawl. That is not to say that it is a dark depressing record, because it definitely is not. The first three tracks of the record are upbeat and finely done rock songs. There are snappy drums, excellent harmonies, and light and airy acoustic guitar parts sprinkled throughout the album, but the soul of the record lies in a deeply rooted Americana rock vibe. The band even does a beautiful, natural ballad (“River Town”) that has a banjo and steel guitar country/bluegrass sound. All of the sounds on this record are diverse, but they stay focused and cohesive. I feel that all of the best elements of the band come together perfectly on the song "Born A Rotten Egg." The organ sound is excellent, the simple guitar tone fits the song perfectly, and the song structure is well crafted. “All The Same” is another song that mixes a CCR “Who’ll Stop The Rain” kind of vibe with a classic Gin Blossoms tone. I feel that this is a blend of styles that sums up this band perfectly. The Harmed Brothers have their own sound, and even with the different instrumental diversity, they remain comfortable and distinct inside their songs.

Like any healthy relationship, there are a few things that The Harmed Brothers do that I just kind of bite my tongue or grit my teeth. “Where You’re Going” is a little bit out of range for me, and I don’t love the Johnny Cash-like tone of “Time,” but it’s like my wife using her fork to push her peas onto her spoon to eat them. It kinda irks me, but I still love her. And who knows, maybe it’s me that doesn’t know how to eat peas.

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