There’s six degrees of Kevin Bacon and rock ‘n’ roll’s family tree branches can intercept more than a game of piggy-in-the-middle. So it makes sense that supergroup, The Nearly Brothers would take on such a name, even though you could say it’s just two Aussies, an Englishman and an Irishman walking into a bar.
The plan was for the group to produce an album called, Mancini, Morricone, Wolf & Me for Henry, Ennio, Howlin’ and Mark Snarski. But they instead opted for You Can’t Hide From Yesterdays. The debut 12-track album was released overseas in 2010 but has only just been offered here in Oz. The record sees the aforementioned Messer Snarski (Chad’s Tree) teaming up with Mick Harvey (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), Martyn Casey (The Triffids, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), T.B. Allen and Mark Dawson (The Black Eyed Susans).
The result is some tight-sounding music that was produced live and quickly with 16 tracks recorded in just four days in Fremantle. The time constraint has helped lend a sense of intense urgency and melodrama to the songs. Snarski’s smooth baritone causes “You Make Me Ache” to sound like a Nick Cave song. It sets a high bar and sees the kind of atmospheric guitars found in Crowded House’s “Fingers Of Love” offered up like a ritual or lusty curse that’s drenched in gloom and menace.
The title track tends to be more like an evil road trip because a Cream-inspired, dirty rock riff is coupled with eerie strings. This lot is definitely indebted to these past masters even though the volume is turned down a notch on “When White Ants Come”. This is some dark and broody folk that segues off to take in some swirling, electric guitars.
Black Sabbath is a band that springs to mind on “Am I Diggin’ My Hole?” The chorus has a beefy, rock riff before things change tact once again and the pulse is slowed down to a more languid ballad. But things soon heat up on “Stung”, where some prickly warm sounds are like a gritty and dusty adventure to the desert, before the cool oasis that is “The Fish Girl”. The latter is caught somewhere between a dream and the deep blue sea.
“Let’s Find A Box Dolores” completes the set, where Snarski sounds like he is looking for a bar (not a box). You can’t help but feel like this whole exercise was to look for some sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll because the latter is definitely present in “It’s All Tumbling”. On this one you can imagine The Doors performing away before stopping rather abruptly so they could get in a verse of “Wild Child”.
You Can’t Hide From Your Yesterdays is full of guitar- ones that squeal, howl and rumble for added effect and subsequently induce some hip-thrusting glory. At times it is as dark and gothic as a film noir soundtrack while at other moments the rock music seems like the bastard half brother of bands like B.R.M.C and The Black Keys.
There is also a creeping sense of unease that punctuates the work with trouble kept at the forefront. What this ultimately means for You Can’t Hide From Your Yesterdays is that while you may not be able to exorcise your past demons, with help you can certainly dance with these princes of darkness.
Originally published on 13 July 2012 at the following website: http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/reviews/music/33154/The-Nearly-Brothers–You-Cant-Hide-From-Yesterdays
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