The Lost Brothers

So Long John Fante (Bird Dog Recordings)

SO Long John Fante perfectly captures the Lost Brothers’ evolving musical maturity. A sophomore release, and the long-awaited follow up to the Irish duo’s debut, Trails of the Lonely, this maintains the boys’ transcendent folk-pop songs, underlined by delicious, two-part harmony vocals, so tight and interwoven as to make the insertion of even a cigarette-paper an impossibility.

The eleven deftly-crafted parcels of hooks, choruses and divine melodies sound effortless and ambitious, marking a more eclectic release than its predecessor. Only By Light of the Moon harks back to the golden age of doo-wop, while Oh Brother employs an uncomplicated country principle, steadily directed by a solid gospel-style guitar accompaniment.

Recorded over 12 days late last year in Sheffield, and produced by Colin Elliot (Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley), the album features studio musicians from Hawley’s band. The opening track, In The City, sweeps to a swirling crescendo, reminiscent of a 1960s power-ballad radio hit. The Goodbye Kid elicits the inevitable Everly Brothers comparisons, while Pale Moon and Six Black Days lean in a folk direction, expressed in sparse, yet polished arrangements.

The Lost Brothers’ forte is an uncanny ability to interlace their voices, fashioning a resonance that is neither one voice nor the other, in the manner of Simon & Garfunkel or even Lennon & McCartney. This is magnificent pop craftsmanship exuding simple musical charm, innocently enticing the listener. The Brothers’ have an ear for effortless poetry, and stark powerful melodies underpinning to-die-for harmony singing. A powerful musical punch.

Gerry Quinn

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