The New Kids, Brother Brother’s debut studio album, opens a new chapter in the Sarasota, Florida-based band’s story. This chapter finds the duo of young Bradley and Brett Anderson disinterested in expectations and subtlety, instead throwing themselves head first into the undefined and breaking new ground as they fearlessly pursue the possibilities of their music both lyrically and sonically. Playfully coined “indie rock with a banjo,” The New Kids reflects these sentiments. Each track lends itself to the idea of candid expression and genuine identity, ultimately revealing the nature of this collection of dynamic and diverse songs: nonconformist in arrangement and poignantly honest in content.
“This album is about being a part of something bigger,” says Bradley. “We wanted it to capture who and what we’ve become over the last few years as newcomers to the music scene. But more than that, we wanted it be a rallying cry for anybody who feels like a newcomer too.”
Brother Brother did indeed come as outsiders as they began their musical odyssey a few short years ago. The grass-roots, home-town band was invited to perform at a theatre in Branson, Missouri, where they went from having played 10 shows a year to 10 shows a week year-round. A kind of Nashville-meets-Vegas environment was all but other-worldly to the teens, one which they quickly realized would be a make or break step in their journey.
“We endured all of the stress so we could play songs for people, and we wrote songs so we could deal with all of the stress,” adds Brett. “We felt so much pressure to be and do so many different things in that time. But ultimately through that we learned to be who we are.”
The brothers found themselves armed with a selection of songs ready to record. When Nashville legend Matt Odmark (Jars of Clay) offered to produce their record, they were elated at the prospect of working with one of their own musical heroes. “I honestly couldn’t believe it at first,” Bradley admits. “Matt’s work has always been a constant inspiration, and he understood our sound and the direction we needed the album to head like almost no one else did. It became like this really cool fusion of acoustic guitars, electric banjos, synthesizers, and a really fun indie rock energy.”
Despite the fact that The New Kids may show Brother Brother’s unrestrained passion in full force in songs like Chasing Me Down or Novocaine, it also shows a tender side along with it. Baby Girl recounts the memory of a delicate dream, and Hold On Love encapsulates the peaceful resolve to rise above. Despite the ebb and flow throughout the record, the band stays true not only to their heart placed unprotected upon their sleeve, but to their live sound as well.
“The one thing we always had in mind when we were making this album was how this is going to look and feel in our performances,” Brett says. “We always think of the live show first. So much of our writing comes from wanting to create something that we love playing in front of people every night.” The resulting album feels innovative and vibrant, every track imbued with a sense of propulsive motion that derives largely from both the acoustic undertones and progressive styles.
“It’s who we are now,” cries the title track. But in the words of the brothers, it’s bigger than just them. “We wanted to call this album The New Kids because it’s not just us. This is for anybody of any age who doesn’t quite fit in,” says Bradley. “And really, that’s pretty much everybody,” adds Brett. This record captures the beginning of Brother Brother’s musical exploration, and holds up a banner of triumph for themselves and everyone who feels the same. “We’ve seen great and terrible things,” their anthem concludes. “So call us what you want, we are The New Kids.”