The Brew: Back To The Woods

By: Dennis Cook

Sophistication is rare in pop music. You don't reach the lowest common denominator adding complications or nuances. The Brew strike the rare happy balance between catchiness and cleverness, tossing out numbers that wouldn't sound out of place next to the Dave Matthews Band but making sure much of their work has a creamy thickness (instrumentally, "Looking Down" and "First of Things" could be Steely Dan outtakes, and "Black Train" echoes Joe Jackson on a good day). There's a well-harnessed togetherness to every element on Back To The Woods (self-released), all propelled by dead sturdy songcraft, clean production, solid chops and lead singer Dave Douin's inviting croon.

The lyrics are almost painfully earnest; the railing of young men against big troubles (often relationship related), but The Brew's utter sincerity carries these sentiments over well. One is reminded of the frothing bile and stiff jaw of early U2, yet delivered with the sugary lilt of someone like The Barenaked Ladies. The Brew is an odd mix in this regard – heavy themes with a very radio friendly delivery. They evoke O.A.R. in their modern romanticism at times, but are far more lyrically successful when they relax a bit, as on the positively intoxicating "Definitions," which brings to mind James Taylor in its primo folk-pop-iness, or the gently experimental title track, which hints at weird depths I'd love to hear them explore. Still, this is very fine overall. If they keep building 'em like this it won't be long before The Brew is sharing bills with Assembly of Dust, opening for Ben Folds and Jack Johnson and headlining their own theatre gigs. Music this rawly appealing doesn't stay secret for long.

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[Published on: 8/31/08]

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Comments

phanatic2 starstarstarstarstar Tue 9/2/2008 11:25AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

These guys are pretty good live, they can sure pack a house and move a crowd. Surely there will be a Brewfest in New England in the next few years and bands like the Attic, Roots of Creation, Fungus Amungus, and Humblebee will all likely be there jammin away!