Review Summary: Solid acoustic indie from former Murder of Rosa Luxemburg member.
A seemingly recent trend is the former hardcore band member going from aggressive noisy fury to lightly arranged melancholy folk bliss. Referencing Andrew Jackson’s former group The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg is almost completely ignorant in the case of House of Brothers because they are that far apart. Where Murder of Rosa Luxemburg founded their form of expression in the realms of dissonance and painfully complex arrangements, House of Brothers sees Andrew Jackson minimally crafting gorgeous acoustic based compositions. While Jackson is certainly not doing something that hasn’t been done before (see: Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, etc.) he is able to craft a refreshing poppy sound that evokes a combination of Japanese pop artist Shugo Tokumaru as well as Portland’s famous Elliott Smith. Intrinsic yet easily digestible “Deadman” is another great 2007 release.
House of Brothers is mainly an acoustic guitar outlet for founder and composer Andrew Jackson. Adding flavors of piano, strings, handclaps, and other indie essentials, “Deadman” has a complex and childish feel to it. The production while at times stifling does help bring out the bright tones of all the instruments. Negatively very little low end is represented on this album since Jackson is usually performing near falsetto singing. Songs like “Electric Light” slowly swing in and out of emotional acoustic only passages to full band indie rock sensationalism. Elliott Smith’s “Figure 8” is an assumed key influence on this album as the brand of grandiose pop blended with the personal heart wrenching style of a singer / songwriter is clearly influenced by that record. Snaky guitar lines that evoke a vision of Kinsella gone acoustic like the intro to “These Days” give the group a check in the math rock column, but it certainly isn’t rivaling the technicality of Jackon’s previous band, The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg. The complications of this album are subtle and more in the background as if they hint at the fact that Jackson has out grown his more provoking youth performance and blossomed into what some might consider an “evolved artist”. While I certainly miss the man’s previous act, House of Brothers is a promising little collective that have released at the very least an incredibly sincere record in the form of the “Deadman” EP. Jackson forgoes the conceptual hang ups of his past group and is able to express himself in vivid yet complex tales of romance. And while “Deadman” will certainly not be a “scene changing” album, it is just an honest reflection of one spectrum of Jackson’s life which is definitely enough to tide me over for his first official release