Viva Brother ‘Famous First Words’ – Review

5 Aug

In January I said the following about Brother (now known as Viva Brother for some reason) – “I’m 90% confident that they’re terrible but a small part of me thinks maybe, just maybe, they might be the real deal. Brother are either destined to be the biggest band in Britain by this time next year or the biggest laughing-stock – it’s going to be fun finding out which it is.” unfortunately for them Brother are now somewhat of a laughing stock, and unfortunately for me it was very little fun finding this out. In fact, there is very little that can be called fun about ‘Famous First Words’ (just take a second to breathe that title in…)

Viva Brother’s three singles have all failed to chart after the band claimed they would be scoring number one after number one, and this debut album has already been slated by the music press. Of Course Brother are not to blame for a lacklustre single market, a record label / PR company that is unusualy keen to paint them as this generation’s Oasis, and a music press that hates ambition and arrogance, but the ball has always been in Brother’s court; if they had made a great album then those other factors would be irrelevant – after all, the other most hyped band of the year, The Vaccines, have succeeded triumphantly simply off the back of a great debut. But then The Vaccines have bags of tunes and Brother simply don’t.

However, ‘Famous First Words’ gets off to a good start, with ‘New Year’s Day’, a nice fashioned rocker that is just the right shade of euphoric and revivalist. This is as good as the album gets. The second single ‘Darling Buds of May’ is as dated and nostalgic as the TV series it borrows its name from, but without the charm and self-awareness. Still, at least that song has a chorus, which is more than can be said for the horrible, horrible third single ‘Still Here’, a regurgitated bit of Britpop that should be banned from the airwaves. That song aside there isn’t much else on here that’s awful exactly, but there isn’t anything to write home about either. ‘Time Machine’, the final song, just about stands out from the crowd for having a half decent guitar solo, shame it comes too late.

Brother are just too loud, too brash and too arogant to be remotely likeable – but Oasis were all of those things, I hear you say, and they used to be the biggest band on the planet! Well there are two big differences: Firstly Oasis were genuine; they lived and breathed Britpop, they helped define it’s rules, and they walked the walk. Brother on the hand seem completely fake; the embarrassingly strained accent is clearly forced (as any interview proves) and a quick google search shows that they used to be eyeliner stained emo-punk band ‘Kill the Arcade’ (they followed the emo rulebook as closely as they now follow the britpop one, right down to the phony American accent). Pretty embarrassing.

The second difference between Brother and Oasis, and it’s a staggeringly massive difference, is that Oasis were, for a short while at least, excellent at this kind of thing. Brother are not.  They are going to get ripped to pieces for ‘Famous First Words’, perhaps unfairly as this is not the worst album I’ve heard all year, but they have somewhat brought it on themselves. As it turns out, the 90% of me that, in January, thought Brother would fail was right – but I suppose the 10% of me that thought they would make it was sort of right as well, as 1/10th of ‘Famous First Words’ is great – shame it’s just one song.


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