In a blistering explosion of guitars and drums crashing into each other, the new album by Brother Reverend, The Tables Turn Too Often starts off with a bang in the title track and doesn’t stop throttling us for the duration of the record. The thunderous gallop of the riffs gives way to a gilded vocal from frontman Keith Xenos before deconstructing itself and clearing a path for the psychedelic power pop of “Family Housing.” This second track is where the listener starts to really settle in with the harmonies being dispatched around them, and after a little under three minutes of rollicking optimism we’re ready for country-style dirge of “Anything New.” The band staggers through the opulent arrangement with surprisingly strong discipline, and it’s all we can do to keep from becoming completely hypnotized by their droning melodies.
“Carry the Difference” sparkles like a diamond catching rays from the morning sun for the very first time and shows us that Brother Reverend knows how to slow down and still maintain a consistent pace. The bluesy “North by Sunset” and outsider folk of “Monkee” alone make The Tables Turn Too Often a much more diverse offering than anything you’ll find scanning satellite or FM rock stations this year, but it’s the ominous stomp of “Charles Ng” that really cements this band’s status as the most exciting rock group of 2018. I don’t understand why everyone keeps calling Brother Reverend an alternative rock band when they so obviously aren’t interested in abusing archaic punk rock ideals nor selling us their music from a self-righteous soapbox like other acts of that genre (hopefully this album will put a stop to such silly claims).
The second half of The Tables Turn Too Often is where Brother Reverend really turn the volume up and start to have some footloose fun. “Plot Twist” drifts along like an artifact from a Nuggets collection, but it doesn’t overtly give in to “throwback” dynamics. This band is perfectly comfortable wearing their influences on their sleeve, but in songs like “Plot Twist” and it’s follow-up “Stranger” we see that they are determined to be known for their own creativity rather than someone else’s. “Stranger” is such a sumptuous taste of avant-garde style indie pop that it took me a couple of listens just to break down its narrative, let alone find another song to compare it to.
The mischievous “Used Food” injects The Tables Turn Too Often with a little danger before making room for the positive vibes of “Off-Off Track Betting” and the deeply contemplative and sincere “Another Hand,” which could be the swan song of Brother Reverend’s discography. Driven by a Delta-inspired riff, “Another Hand” is so vividly sharp that I would have to assume the band is going to make a video to accompany it, if not release it on its own as a single in support of the record. We wrap up our session with “The Last Time,” which musically brings us right back to where we started with the title track, albeit a much more reserved interpretation. I was shocked at how progressive and smooth The Tables Turn Too Often played out from track one to thirteen and can see why it’s been getting the adulation from critics that it has been. A strong contender for album of the year, Brother Reverend’s latest album comes out this late September and promises to have a major impact on the scene from which it was born.
Keep up with Brother Reverend on their WEBSITE.
-review by Jodi Marxbury