It is too early to start nit picking through the racks to find the best releases of 2005, but Philadelphia's Brothers Past has definitely provided an early contender for the coveted crown. A mature, remarkably profound political and musical statement, This Feeling's Called Goodbye is an impressively moving jaunt from start to finish, asserting the fact that this quartet is poised and ready to move up the ranks.

This band is angry. They're frustrated with the state of corporate control in the media, Patriot Act-style Republicanism, and the empty deity status given to today's false idol of celebrity. Society, fed on fear to increase consumption, is unwaveringly stuck under a rock of friendly fascism, constantly being lied to in order to boost profits, while wars on free speech and undeserved nations continue to flourish because the public is rarely given the real story. Pockets of resistance, mostly well-informed, artistic intellectualists, continue to stage a fiery guerrilla war that pokes and prods the heart of the machine, in hope that one day liberalism towards the media and foreign policy will override current political agendas. This Feeling's Called Goodbye is another powerful example of said intellectual resistance, done gracefully with lyrics that do not mince words and musicianship that is deeply haunting and emotively charged all at once. From the opening chords of "Leave the Light On," the quartet asserts their position and continues to pound the message throughout the entire fifty-minute listen. Lyrics like "Bring us your young, we would love to teach them a lesson" in the demandingly funky "Celebrity" or "How long can you juggle with a loaded gun before you get a bullet in the face" in the jammy centerpiece "Simple Gift of Man" are such anecdotal profundities, showcasing the desire of the quartet to hammer their point home, no matter how bent the nail is.

The medium is also as profound as the message. Quirky electronic drum programming, simple ethereal piano melodies, and funk-laden, relaxed bass work dominate the record, revolving around the powerful vocal work of guitarist Tom Hamilton, fashioning together one heck of an enjoyable listen. There is rock, funk, jazz, trance, folk, and all things in between represented here, but rather than being plagued with having too many ingredients in the recipe, the measurements add up perfectly, creating music that would electrify even without the powerful lyrics dusted on top. This is more closely linked to British math rock than improvisational jam, often landing between the shirtsleeves of what NME stalwarts Kasabian and the Kaiser Chiefs are currently churning out. But fear not - these tight, four-minute pop songs spill over with intricate musicianship, raising the flag from the half mast that standard indie-rock usually hangs upon. In addition, the band constantly juxtaposes organic instruments with their electronic counterparts, creating a natural fluid product that develops character like a fine whisky, revealing more after every taste.

This is wonderfully moving stuff. It's not an uplifting listen at first, but realizing that there is a problem and developing the will to fight is the first step to change, which will ultimately leave the listener feeling uplifted. Via a rich medium and unabashed, powerful message, This Feeling's Called Goodbye is a straightforward user's guide for anyone who is fed up with the state and is searching for something more accessible than Marx or Klein to feed the fire.

Shain Shapiro
JamBase | England
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[Published on: 3/26/05]

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