Everything about this album challenges my ideas of what indie music should be, and to be honest, this band will only be indie for a short time. Plenty of indie are as catchy as this, but can it still be indie when coated with this much pop sheen? Can a band still be considered indie when they have opened for the Wallflowers?
In short, who cares? The Como Brothers have been busting it for years to make it as musicians and have crafted a Top 40 ready sound, complete with breezy production, sweet harmonies, and absolutely undeniable melodies. The terms “infectious” and “can of earworms” come to mind. Comparisons to Jason Mraz, Travis, early Maroon 5, and John Mayer are inevitable as you listen to this disc.
Such an album is possibly the trickiest review for a critic, especially one who seeks the weird and unconventional. There is no profound artistic statement. This group is as far from the cutting edge as you can get. Everything about this album is conventional but dominates your brainwaves almost instantly. One listen and it’s hard to convince yourself that this band hasn’t already broken into the mainstream. They’d have to really muck it up to not get huge on the heels of a release like this.
Lead-off singles “Straight Face” and “Late Nights” show the well-synthesized influences of the last 20 years of tasteful, mainstream pop music in two slightly different lights. The first layers a soulful vocal a la Jason Mraz over a deeply swaggering beat. “Late Nights,” on the other hand, takes musical cues from the Black Keys and expands them to create a sprawling beast of a blues crawl. This is the Como Brothers at their darkest, and it hits with the same effect as some of the slower numbers of AM by the Arctic Monkeys. It would be nice to see them stretch out on some more material like this, since they execute it so well.
Brothers Andrew and Matt are too promiscuous in their use of pop formats to settle on a mood though. Much of the rest of the album flits about different major key explorations of funky and smart tunes littered with unstoppable hooks. The refusal to commit to a genre or make a deep statement are my only complaints against this album. Subject matter never veers from the tried and true territory of pop music.
In a sense, this band is perfect for hipsters. The Como Brothers are going places, so jump on the bandwagon now so you can say you heard them before their mainstream success, which is almost certain at this point. This album is a solid statement of intent for a promising, young band with a long career in the spotlight ahead of them.