Elder Brother – Heavy Head

album by:
Elder Brother

Reviewed by:
On 19 March 2014
Last modified:19 March 2014


Accomplished, well-made, honestly written and performed.

@planetmosh reviews Heavy Head by .@elderbrother_ on .@purenoiserecs

heavy headElder Brother is the new side project from Dan Rose of Daybreaker (vocals) and Kevin Geyer of The Story So Far (guitars).  The two got to know each other while touring together and decided to collaborate.  Most people might have thought they’d mess about in the studio, maybe put out an EP, but Elder Brother have really jumped in at the deep end, with a series of gigs and a full length album; Heavy Head, released March 11th.  While Elder Brother is officially made up of Kevin and Dan, they were joined on the album by Matthew and Charles Vincent of The American Scene and Gus Pesce of Defeater.  Heavy Head was produced in August 2013 by Sam Pura, at his Fremont, California base, The Panda Studios.

This is an album that needs you to sit down and really listen to it.  It’s going to pass by in a blur if you don’t pay attention, but if you do you’ll find it has a lot to say.  Elder Brother seems a very apt name, as the piece as a whole comes across like advice from someone who knows.  Someone who’s been there, made that mistake and wants to tell you what they learned from it.  Someone like an elder brother perhaps.  From opener Pennsylvania, “I’m not asking the questions I’m providing the answers,” to closer Sunday Mornings, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” there’s some sage advice to be had here, if you take the time.

For a debut album from a brand new band, Elder Brother have very quickly pinned down their sound.  They know who they are and what they’re aiming for and Heavy Head really delivers that.  It’s a very cohesive piece.  The downside to this is that the songs run the risk of blending into each other, but I see it more as different chapters of the same book.  They’re similar, but they aren’t the same.  They knit together to create a complete story.  The thing about music is that we often love a song because it says what we feel but can’t express.  Every song on this album will touch someone for that reason.

Standout tracks for me are Webs, Lightning Bug and Who’s Gonna Carry You Home?  Webs is a chance for Dan Rose’s vocals to really shine.  It’s soulful, haunting, beseeching, and another example of someone passing on what they’ve learned from their life.  “If seeing is believing I guess I’m really blind.”  It’s a very simple melody, but the vocals make it one of those songs that stops you in your tracks.  Lightning Bug is a more upbeat track, with a much poppier, alt-rock sound, but with those very wise vocals still at the forefront, “What’s supposed to be will be.”  Who’s Gonna Carry You Home? is completely stripped back to the simplest vocal and guitar, both of which are raw and beautiful.  A Slow, Comfortable Deep Breath is completely different to anything else on the album.  It’s spaced out, trippy, with an electronic voice repeatedly reminding us to take A Slow, Comfortable Deep Breath.  It would make an excellent yoga mantra!

To conclude, for an established, experienced band this would be a good album.  From a band who’ve been together less than a year it’s outstanding.  It’s accomplished, well-made, honestly written and performed.  The vocals are flawless and are really set off by some beautiful guitar.  If this is for starters I look forward to what comes next from Elder Brother.

Track Listing

1) Pennsylvania

2)Throw Me to the Wolves


4)Any Sort of Plan

5)Lightning Bug

6)A Slow Comfortable Deep Breath

7)Heavy Head

8)Who’s Gonna Carry You Home

9)Really Free

10)In My Bones

11)Sunday Mornings

Accomplished, well-made, honestly written and performed.

About KarenS

Photographer, lover of books and movies. Can normally be found walking the dog in the rain.