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Oh Brother! New band Brother are dividing opinion – what do you think?

Oh brother

There is a new band in town.

Working class heroes or working class zeros, you decide.

Fresh from Slough they are called Brother and they are splitting opinion like butt cheeks with their rent a quote, gobshite, ranting and their jaunty Britpop- revival of a revival- bouncy single.
Primed and set free by the music biz they are launched in January to grab best new band attention and have hoovered up column inches with their appropriation of the Gallagher’s gobaholic bursting on the scene all those years ago.

We love a good hype in the UK and we love the vitriol and scorn. The annual pitched battle around these type of bands shows the unique cultural scion in the UK. A lazy sociologist would note that middle class bands get all the press and the rest get sneered at- whether that’s true or not is another debate. Brother themselves are either the real deal or dealing in cliches and are not even the best of this genre of bands trying to get a break. Whatever happened to the Suzukis and other good lad bands out there without the break?

Haters are already deriding them as chancers, this years Menswear, Terris, Towers Of London and a million other hopefuls with the brief flicker of fame. They could be the NME band of the moment that will sink as the year pans out or they could have a master plan. One of them could be a Noel- a sensitive, articulate, funny as fuck soul who could write plaintive ballads and rabble rousing anthems.

With their roots in an Emo band called Kill The Arcade and the not bad, Wolf Am I, Brother do seem to have contrived themselves into a cartoon cut out of the Manc lad swagger that was patented by the Roses and turned to gold by Oasis and is still resonant in the UK of football weekenders and shitty jobs. Maybe they are being cynical or maybe that’s the most fun you can have in Slough. Changing style is not a crime and some of the most hipster cherished bands have done it.

Their single is not as bad as it should be- a bouncy jaunty thing, it’s no Oasis and certainly a long way from the Stone Roses, it recycles all the cliches of lad pop and is either a celebration of the form or a cynical cash in.

Will it make the connection like latter day ruffian saints like the Courteeners have? They will need better tunes and fast.

Stephen Street is producing them and they are pissing people off. It’s a tried and tested formulae. They stand there in front of the world grabbing their moment. Are they chancers or do they have a twisted genius like Kasabian that will surprise everyone? What do you think?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Is this music from the heart or is this another blasphemy band about to annoy the fuck out of most other bands out there who have decent tunes but unfortunately not been swamped upon but the sunken british sheep music industry as yet. Yeh decision made and this is a croq of shite, no meaning and no heart. I always have in my head that decent first albums come from a bedroom not straight of the back of an emo lorry, and to me this isnt adding up one bit, I would love to no why in a recent NME interview they missed out the fact they were 12 months ago a band called Kill The Arcade, or is it that the NME want to balloon this type of band and try and save there flopping magazine from grace. Yeh, if Im honest there probably nice lads underneath all that make up and bravado but they aint doing themselves one bit of justice and again we have another hard band on our hands slagging other artists off. I think these should be put to bed because its embarrassing to say that Brother are been tipped for 2011. Just hope over the pond aint looking.

  2. Oh, the tiresome cliche that being supposedly working class excuses a band’s lack of imagination, talent and intelligence and somehow justifies the sort of lumpen monkey-rock you can find at the arse end of a pay-to-play bill in any town any weekend. In reality, whether it’s the young Mark E Smith writing “Live at the Witch Trials” between shifts at the docks or Frazer King dragging musical references from across the globe and lyrical ones from throughout history back to 21st century Wythenshawe, the true musical “Working Class Heroes” are those who breed innovation from their situation, creating ideas where richer kids can just buy second hand ones.

    I wonder sometimes, in that cynical bit of my mind, whether Brother exist at all – or whether they’re the result of some experiment or bet between bored PR agents. Pick up some going-nowhere emo act, kit them out in Adidas Originals, feed them some soundbites of scripted rebellion and race you to the NME cover. I feel this is the latest in the long line of one-trick ponies about which half the NME staff are probably embarrassed about hyping now, and the other half will be in a year’s time.

  3. In a nutshell Cath thats nailed it. The fast show indie club springs to my mind…please watch this httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClcwKgxu2wk

  4. Kill The Arcade? I saw them once. Reviewed them in my webzine back in 2007. Now, what did I say about them…?


    “…an oddly mature take on the kind of boisterous pop-metal
    the likes of Taking Back Sunday have made their own. Although the band
    seem very young, their music sounds positively middle-aged
    in its conventionality, while the vocalist’s between song big-ups seem
    to have been lifted wholesale from the Standard Textbook Of Things Rock
    Stars Say On Stage. As if to clinch it, I notice that two members of the
    band are wearing cardigans. Cardigans! Did we fight the Punk Wars so that
    modern bands can wear cardigans on stage? Ladies and gentlemen, we did


    I reckon I could replace the reference to Taking Back Sunday with Oasis and that would do as a Brother review. It’s PR agent rock, nothing more than that. If the NME cover shot is anything to go by, they’re still wearing the cardies!

  5. Haven’t heard them yet, but from what I’ve been reading so far they seem terrible. I think new bands should start listening more to The Fall than Oasis for Britrock to become interesting again. Just look what These New Puritans have achieved!

  6. Never fear The Suzukis are still here and are coming through and taking no prisoners. If you’re looking for the heroes look no further. Here’s a band who have the spirit to keep pushing through the obstacles mentioned in your article.

    Thankfully the tide seems to be turning in their favour now and they’ll be showing any chancers how it’s really done .

    See http://www.facebook.com/thesuzukismusic. Their debut album is out on July 11th.


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