Brother/Ghost conjures haunting sound on “Buried”

Some albums just reach out and grab you instantly. When I first heard “Buried,” my mind was spinning, picking out all the great influences I was hearing: 16 Horsepower, The Decemberists, Spain, and probably True Widow most of all. It’s one of those albums that is thus familiar, but leaves its own unique and indelible mark.

“Satan” starts things off with somber strings atop an ambient hum; then a squeal of feedback cues the entrance of warm, open-ended guitar chords that linger and echo. The pattern repeats, that feedback always acting as a harbinger of the explosion to come, those guitar riffs getting bigger and radiating outward. “Harpies” highlights the True Widow “stonegaze” aesthetic, all murk and melancholy, with a 16 Horsepower twang lurking just beneath. The high vocals occasionally crooning in the background are an excellent touch, and when the song shifts down in the last couple minutes and brings the heavy … watch out. Massive riffs erupt, crusted in distortion, and hit hard. These are big, bottom-heavy True Widow riffs at their best. Album highlight “Cripple” is up next, and drapes a suffocating slowcore pall over the affair. This track is paralyzing in its bleakness, culminating brilliantly in the line “Please leave me a cripple … and please leave me naive,” that is uttered barely above a whisper. And once again the latter part of the track goes total True Widow, even heavier than “Harpies,” with massive low end that could buckle asphalt or rattle out your fillings.

After that, unfortunately, the record eases up. “Causeway” has a Decemberists-like folksy moodiness about it that is enjoyable, but cannot hold a candle to the sheer power of the prior tracks. It’s also got an alt-country Wilco thing going which is well-executed, but not my favorite. “Freedom” is very good, with an enjoyable main melody line, but is really just a solid rock song. Things get back on track with “Pendulum,” an excellent tune with a dusty, mean Western swagger. But “Black Dog” trumps it and ends the album in style. It begins, oddly enough, sounding like Faith No More or Mr. Bungle doing one of their lounge songs. A slow and slithering, semi-funky bass line leads the way, the vocal low and and breathy. It ends in quite the opposite fashion, however, detonating in a Sunn0)))-like rumble. This thick wall of black distortion goes on for a full four minutes, relentless and smothering. “Buried” has its dark leanings, but here surprises with pure menace.

I’d have liked to see more consistency throughout this album, as the middle is a bit thin compared to the bombastic front and back, but there is no denying that it is impressive. Brother/Ghost invokes a multitude of great bands and ultimately come out sounding like only themselves. Here’s hoping for a fruitful career for the band, as they show immense promise.

Check out this unique and amazing band here.

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