When you think of rural Lima, Ohio, what kind of music comes to mind? Country? Polka? Being smack dab in the Midwest, you might expect a little metal here, some classic rock there, right? To their credit, the guys in Brother Believe Me make no bones about their influences, which – polka not considered – lean heavily toward rock of the classic, modern and Southern variety, with maybe a little bit of outlaw country for good measure. BBM list both Metallica and Kris Kristofferson among their favorite artists. While what they’ve drawn out of these influences doesn’t reach extremes of thrash metal or grizzled drinkin’ music, BBM do manage to give us some well played, straight-ahead modern rock with the bark left on, sometimes aggressive, sometimes introspective and dusty. The opening track on their new full-length, Things Change, sets the tone with contemporary, shiny production and a modern sound. But far from simply rocking out, “Believe Me” is full of apocalyptic lyrical overtones (“They’re coming for us on the wings of the demon”) and something of a Christian bent. It ends on an optimistic note, with guitarist/vocalist J.T. Cole keening, “Refuse to hate and we can make our own way.”Leaning toward the more introspective side of Skynyrd, Things Change takes an acoustic detour midway through. Both “Draw the Line” and “Dead End” revolve around blues-y acoustic guitars and gruff vocals. “Draw the Line” drips with regret: “ Nothing left for me except this song,” sings Cole resignedly. The proceedings soon build up steam, as evidenced by the bruising “Not For Me.” This tune crystallizes what the band is all about: tough, modern-meets-classic Southern rock. The momentum continues to build on “Contagious” with its commanding guitar and stop/start rhythms.
The title track bursts forth with a roof-raising hook and steady, pumping beat. This prototypical bar-band anthem material is followed by the closer, a mostly spare, acoustic guitar-driven tune. “Sooner Or Later” is dominated by an impassioned vocal and intense, immediate lyrics: “The voice on the phone was not who I remember,” Cole sings. It finishes on a note of optimism, though: “I just want you to know you’re not alone.” Head over to www.myspace.brotherbelieveme for more info.
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July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion