For me, there are no two ways about this statement: This is the quintessential Kevin Devine album.
Aside from Split the Country, Split the Street (which I wasn’t able to do justice because KevDev raised $50,000 in a single day to fund his most recent releases, Bubblegum and Bulldozer), Brother’s Blood is the album to which I would point new listeners and those interested in becoming a Kevin Devine fan.
Opening on the intensely personal “All of Everything, Erased,” a song about Devine’s drug addiction, the mood and tone of Brother’s Blood is established from the onset. And though the first half to this record stands in stark difference to its counterpart, both sides have a distinct feel that will draw in listeners.
Side A is highlighted by three of Devine’s best songs: the intoxicating “Carnival,” which extends past the 6-minute mark (without any reason to ever end, I might add); the following cut, “Time to Burn (Another Bag of Bones)”; and the title track, “Brother’s Blood,” which clocks in at nearly 8 minutes.
The binding thread amongst the three tracks is their tendency to err on the edgier, much more aggressive and abrasive side. It’s the closest Devine ever gets to writing Goddamn Band songs without actually being Goddamn Band songs, and each of the trio of songs have to be in the top 5 of all the prolific artist’s works.
Meanwhile, beginning with “Fever Moon” at track six, the flip side eases back on the throttle, allowing Devine more room for his songs to exhale, a departure from the breathless first half. At times, this contrast and juxtaposition makes the album feel akin to KevDev’s pals in Brand New. Some of the guitar tone and drum beats will also harken toward his friends from across the Hudson.
Moral of the story: If you’re into Brand New, literally anything that the Favorite Gentlemen label has done, or grungy, gritty indie alt-rock, this is for you.
From Brother’s Blood, this is “Carnival” —
Standout tracks: “Time to Burn (Another Bag of Bones)” and “Brother’s Blood”
Weakest track: “Tomorrow’s Just Too Late”
RIYL: Anything that Jesse Lacey touches.