Review of Our Brother The Native's album Sacred Psalms released through Fat Cat Records.
Michigan-cum-California based three-piece Our Brother The Native really are an exercise in creativity over any thesis of commercial nous. Their experimental voyages may have started as simplistic post-rock passages but listen more closely to the accomplished dynamics of 'We Are The Living' off second album 'Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels' and you'll stumble across a group of artists quite simply open to absolutely anything when it comes to removing barriers and crossing boundaries on a musical scale.
The fact that the three focal members of Our Brother The Native - Josh Bertram, Chaz Knapp and Kevin McKay - are barely out of their teens also speaks volumes, and 'Sacred Psalms', astonishingly their third long player (debut 'Tooth And Claw' was written while founder members Bertram and the now-departed John Michael Foss were still at school aged fifteen), is a triumph in ambition and adventure, even if the end results don't always quite live up to its creators obvious allusions to grandiosity.
Indeed, where many college-reared bands of a similar age, background and pedigree would head off down the more predictable route of escapist post-rock, OBTN have taken the time to listen a ridiculously diverse set of influences from all over the world, and all five continents and their traditional, organic musical associations are represented here in one form or another.
Across its ten tracks, 'Sacred Psalms' begins where their previous record left off, combining Sigur Ros influenced time signatures with Bertram's elegiac, choirboy-like falsetto against a backdrop of slowly building white noise. Nothing too experimental with that, you might say, but when the abstract percussion of 'Manes' kicks in - think Animal Collective having a public nervous breakdown - and gives way to the Oriental flavourings of 'Someday', Our Brother The Native take 'Sacred Psalms' to another level altogether.
Add the feral meanderings of 'All Grown', 'Child Banter' and its Indian-honed tribal beats and the krautrock surge of 'Behold' and you're onto an eclectic winner here, even when Bertram opines so distressingly on 'Sores' "I'm so easily broken". Just make sure your resolve is fully refreshed, as 'Sacred Psalms', for all its inventiveness, isn't the easiest of listening to digest in one mouthful either.