Hearing Aide: The Other Brothers Debut EP ‘Jones’

Everyone, at some point, dreams of being in a band. Everyone who is in a band, dreams of achieving ultimate success. Some bands spend years in musician purgatory, putting forth albums, riding the in-between waves of small victories within their genre and trying to come to terms with if they’ll ever break through to fame or if the future remains with sold-out hometown shows. The Other Brothers, while still managing similar questions of their own, have showed relentless passion and drive to come out on top over the years, despite the lack of tangible music, until now.

Trading in hometown gigs for Capitol Theatre collaborations with Theo Katzman and Joe Dart of Vulfpeck as well as slots on festival bills, The Other Brothers have quickly hopped amid their own neo-soul totem pole to the top. Beginning as a New Paltz quartet in 2012, the six-pack made up of the flavorful Chris Owens (lead vocals), John Morrison (guitar), Jordan Mendelson (bass), Brandon Bera (drums), Gabriel Marquez (keys) and Jared Nelson (percussion), constantly performed to friends and family while hitting up the town bars and cafes, quickly making their name known and earning the gold star achievement of local favorites. Fast forward five years and the high-talent sextet have finally compiled a five-song, debut EP, Jones, ready to bestow a plentiful stew of soulful R&B, funky, rock and roll genres onto new listeners.

Adorned with a simple cartoon drawing of a burnt orange beanie, Jones offers up a fusion of sound from the very first track. The EP kicks off with “A2W,” or better known as “Addicted to Weed” and if you’ve had the pleasure of catching The Other Brothers live, you’ve noticed it’s quite the crowd pleaser, evoking smiles around the room. The song’s theme is centered on playful lyrics about tokin’ and jokin’ as listeners are lead into Jones with a head-knock worthy drumbeat and funky bass line. Owen’s launches into a narrative of all things that have been blown off because of his unwavering marijuana morale. His deep and smooth articulations are perfectly supplemented by the sultry back up vocals of Mary Corso which make a second pop up later on the release.

Lyrics like “Used to make me laugh, now I just wanna quit” and “get a full-time job and maybe a car” allude to the crossroads many people come to–when to shake a certain comfortable lifestyle in hopes of shifting into a different one or how to make both worlds coexist. The end of the song finds a rap breakdown filled with inner thoughts about giving up personal addictions while guitar aficionado Morrison dives into a funky segue with a build up and climax of heavy, mind-altering psychedelia. The EP quality is top-notch as Jones was recorded to tape, mixed and mastered by David Andersen at Art Farm in Accord, NY and Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. 

“Can I Get It” quickly follows as the second track of the EP, with pronounced drum-circle percussion by Nelson and Mendelson’s bass hook stealing the show in the midst of a dance-party anthem that awakens all senses. The lyrics, while repetitive and straight-forward, aren’t meant to be the highlight of the track. Rather, they state exactly what the band will do as vocal growls and embellishments unleash before wrapping back to the song’s theme of  “We’re gonna funk you up, gonna funk you down!”

An abrupt ending welcomes another fan favorite “Hit You Up” ft. The Other Brothers’ companion Wavy Cunningham. Taking a slower R&B approach to track three, silky smooth vocals and Marquez’ assistance on the keys come to the forefront of the tune before Cunningham steals the mic for a quick rhyme, appropriately placed smack dab in the middle of the track. Owens truly displays his powerhouse singing chops as the song nears its end with high-hitting notes, running scales and impressive falsetto.

Up to this point, the EP has offered slower, smooth arrangements and dance-centered tracks until “Your Machine” comes as the funkiest tune off of Jones, immediately placing you in a time machine to their enchanting Disc Jam 2017 performance. An unmistakable groove first grabs hold of your ear as odd time signatures, soaring guitar licks and swift tempo-switches keep you attentively listening to the very ending note. The guitar-wailing track collectively showcases all member’s talents and even ends with a stellar outro that tantalizes a full spectrum of sentiments.

“Cave In” is delivered as the EP’s 5th and final track, giving off a stimulating and inviting arrangement to tap your toes and swing your hips to. The dreamy vocals enter into airy falsetto, unmistakable growls and even add jazzy scatting into the mix for a nod to yet another wall of sound. “I’m gonna hide inside this groove, baby, until I get back to you” perfectly depicts the soulful and emotive themes the ending track delivers.

Before The Other Brothers even released their tunes in any capacity, they shared the stage with Vulfpeck giants Theo Katzman and Joe Dart at the famed Capitol Theatre, sold out their EP release party at American Beauty in NYC on September 30 and tore up their festival slots and summertime gigs. Taking the frontman’s signature hip sways and energetic bops across the stage out of the equation, the debut places focus on the band’s music alone–solidifying what most already knew. Owens may act as the mitochondria of The Other Brothers cell, but each of the members carry out their own complimentary duties to craft their ever-morphing sound.

With eclectic and effortless transitions between a broad horizon of styles, The Other Brothers don’t allow themselves to be labeled as a one-genre group, if anything, they’re simply contagious. Instead, they master a collection of ballads and soul-soothing soundscapes leaving their exploration and further projects open to directions of all kinds. 

Celebrating their first official EP, a release party will take place at American Beauty in NYC on Sept. 30 at 8PM. Keep your eyes peeled for impending fall tour dates that will be released prior to the show.

Key Tracks: Your Machine, Cave In