Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Indie Music: The Como Brothers "Imagination"

by Germar Derron

The Como Brothers Band should remind you of *ahem* John Mayer, Gavin DeGraw, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, John Legend, and sometimes the Killers and Parachute. That first sentence could be their death knell, or nail in the coffin. When a band sounds like everything, they often sound like nothing. And there's a thin line between "influenced by" and copycat. In the case of the Como Brothers, the extreme familiarity--in rhythm, subject, and charts--feels more "ready" than random or stolen.

There might not be a more radio ready independent act than the Como Brothers Band. There's a reason their work is heard on E!, MTV, and Oxygen. This EP can be called pop, but like all of the best pop it features strong blues, folk, and soul remnants. And Imagination receives my highest praise: I don't want to skip tracks. Each track follows its unique path and I didn't mind those six separate journeys. And somehow those six distinct journeys still felt like one big adventure.

I could lose my cool, young, and "urban" cards for admitting this, but this EP offered a break from--beats, electronic music, intense effects, auto-tune, and sonic sparsity--that I never knew I needed. Listening to it massaged my ear canals. Guitars, drums, keys, and a vocal mic. The sound can't be too producer fabricated because the live track sounds the same, while still being the live version.  That said, the project isn't perfect.

The engineering, specifically the mix, isn't "big time." Or maybe that's actually a production or arrangement problem. The vocals ride high, no, awkwardly at points. On one song, I yelled "there's a cymbal." The overall balance and track to track consistency was problematic, and I don't believe it's a mastering issue. Also, some vocal choices sound more like chances and should never have made a final cut.

But overall, when an actual album drops, I know I'll like it.
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