Spacey instruments, metaphorical lyrics and cutting lead vocals blend together impeccably in Brother Keep's album, "Patchwork Walls," making it a great listen and an indie success.
When first listening to the album, I noticed styling similar to that of alternative bands such as Arcade Fire; the mix of acoustic and electric sounds and the layering of male and female vocals are relaxing and stay parallel to the deeper meaning in the lyrics.
Nick Sessanna is the guitarist and lead vocalist for the band.
"The whole idea of it is, you know, that we're all at a point in our lives where we either have to follow a path of 'success' or follow our hearts and try to live out what we would consider our dream," Nick said.
This concept is portrayed in several places throughout the album, beginning in the first track, "Casual Waters," where Nick sings about having "no clear direction to take."
The song also uses flowing guitar work that takes the listener to a flood plain as described in the lyrics and the title of the piece. The hint of reverb used is all that it takes to make the song graceful and evocative.
The second track, "Masques," makes each element of the band more obvious. You can hear Nick's brother, Jake, on drums, Zachary Vacanti on guitar, Ron Walczyk on bass and Chrissy Krolewicz on keys and back-up vocals.
Nick says that he's been playing music with friends since he was 15. He talks about the formation of the band and how they came up with the idea for "Patchwork Walls."
"Four of us went to Eden [High School], we're kind of from Hamburg and kind of from Eden," Nick said. "We got together and recorded a bunch of songs and, of course, we started writing new ones. We knew we couldn't let this be."
Brian Russo helped the band record the album above Nick's garage.
One of the things I noticed is that Nick's voice is heartfelt and obviously raw; auto-tune or voice-fixing techniques were not used on the album, and that in itself is impressive.
"I tried my best to really stick to my guns and like not settle for anything," says Nick. "And that was tough because Brian's good, but he doesn't have all the fancy magic of like a real expensive recording studio."
The track "Anything, Anymore" features beautiful vocal harmonies and edgy instrumental bridges. This song summarizes the band's various musical tastes and keeps the listener's attention.
Nick says "Summit" is one of his favorites to play.
"I like 'Summit' because there's a really big explosion of emotion at the end," he said. "It captivates people. When I'm playing it, I can really get into it."
The album closes with the title track.
"Basically, I've always felt for my entire life that family isn't necessarily who you're related to by blood," Nick said about the idea behind "Patchwork Walls." "That's not how I define the people that I love and care about. My bandmates are my family."
Fans of Brand New and Manchester Orchestra (which Nick names as major influences) would probably enjoy this album. I also noticed some similarities to Silverstein and Snow Patrol.
The album will soon be available for purchase on iTunes and other sites where music can be downloaded. Nick says that to receive a copy right now, you can message the band, Brother Keep, on Facebook.
"Obviously any band wants to have their music be appreciated," Nick said. "I would love it if I could go on tour and have a bunch of people singing my songs back at me every night. We have every intention of pushing it as far as we can."
Erin Sydney Welsh is a sophomore at Clarence High School.