Review Summary: 'Brother's Blood' proves to be a thoroughly enjoyable and consistant album from start to finish.
One thing that you can first notice about Kevin Devine is that he is a brilliant song-writer, and one I believe to be in the handful of 'better' song-writers in modern music, his only probably is that his music is easiestly digested when viewed as a collections of songs that you can dip in and out of rather than continuos bodies of work, as his albums tend to be quite long (around 50 minutes, usually) and I suppose there is only so much a singer/song-writer can offer.
But with ‘Brother’s Blood’ it is obvious that Kevin Devine has somewhat changed his approach to recording as he incorporates his backing band a lot more in to his music (where as on his past albums they were generally used as no more than subtle accompaniment). This gives Devine more room to experiment as well as adding texture and dynamics to songs where they'd usually start to edge in to monotonous territory. For example, with the use of electric guitar taking the forefront there is added dimension to certain songs such as: giving ‘I Could Be With Anyone’ an almost pop-punk feel; and the use of the guitar solo in the title track building a crescendo up to Kevin almost screaming the songs final verse.
But not every track here is a distortion riddled rocker or an epic, as the album is also dotted with a handful of solo acoustic numbers such as 'Tomorrow's Just Too Late', and album opener 'All of Everything, Erased' which may be one of the greatest songs on the album and even as Devine sings about what sounds like the end of the world you can't help but find yourself swaying and trying to sing-a-long to it.
One of the few traits that ties the album together whether it be from it's quieter or it's more upbeat tunes is Devine’s vocal performance as he goes from a quiet and brittle singing in to uproars of passionate shouting through out most of the songs (and the only gripe I can find here is with his 'aggressive' delivery during the title track as he unecessary screams "argh" over and over and distracts from the songs climax as it seems somewhat out of place). His lyrics are also worth mentioning because, as always, they are apt and original as he writers about such subjects from religion to politics and your typical songs about relationships and upon hearing such lines as "Your Husband/ He drinks like a writer/ But he writes like a banker/ I hope his pens all run dry" ('Yr Husband') you can't help but smile.
All in all, though it may not be genre defining or ground breaking 'Brother's Blood' proves to be a thoroughly enjoyable and consistant album from start to finish.