Eden, New York band Brother Keep make a brand of Indie rock where dramatic and lush instrumentation is used to create something that feels much larger than the typical three minute rock song. The sound that the band captures on their new album Face Like a Map reminds of a time in the genre when this emotive style of songwriting was used by artists like Death Cab for Cutie and Brand New and caught on with fans of both classic indie rock as well as casual alternative listeners.
Frontman Nick Sessanna's songwriting carefully works towards hooks that allow the tracks on the album to come together and deliver overwhelming statements of purpose while the instrumentation elsewhere on the album is filled with enough energy to carry the songs towards the rewarding breakdowns and hooks that make this record worth coming back to.
The album's opener "Coyote" uses the band's formula of striking guitar-led instrumentation to work towards soaring choruses. From the first track it is apparent from the production that the loud-quiet dynamic has been used to give these six songs an added dimension of depth.
On the following track, "Good or Bad", perhaps the album's catchiest, Brother Keep manages to deliver a song that brings together indie rock energy with the restraint and precision of post-rock. The result is a sound that feels like a progression from straightforward punk and indie songs to a more calculated, articulate statement that is more self-assured and engaging upon first listen.
The band gets anthemic with "Echo My Sentiments" where a melodic chorus drives the track that sees some of the more aggressive guitar work and drumming on the album. The breakdowns here hit harder than anywhere else on the record and allow Brother Keep to create their biggest sounding and most concise track of the album.
Taking on a much more mellow tone, the track "Spread the Dust" shows off the band's ability to write songs that have a restrained energy that feel ready to break into the loud dynamic that they capture so well but rather remains linear in its lush instrumentation and creates a moment on the album that is striking enough to remind the listener that this group is capable of creating memorable moments throughout this record.
With Face Like a Map, Brother Keep gives us a record that reveals a band capable of perfecting subtlety in songs that are still filled with enough energy and purpose to bring the listener back as each play of this record reveals more of the sonic depth that works so well in the bands favor to define their sound.