Veritas Est Rock

Paul Karner

As a recovering connie, I have realized in recent weeks my need for something real. I don’t need sunset-real, or snowflakes-on-your-tongue-real. What I need is the real-life dirt between the cracks, the scrawled and crumpled letters on your desk, the blood boiling behind your brown eye. Oftentimes what we need to feel alive isn’t a poetic experience of tranquility or fluffy cuddly feelings of elevation, but rather the gritty feeling you get when life just gives it to you straight.
The Blood Brothers are one band that portrays just that. It’s indie rock with balls – hardcore with falsetto. It’s pop hooks getting the shit beat out of them. At first listen the music on their album “Crimes” is obnoxious and almost gaudy, but with the right set of ears this album is downright sincere.
Two years ago this unlikely band from Seattle made a huge leap from releasing their first album on the West Coast indie label 31G Records, to signing on with Artist Direct/BMG alongside such demoralizing acts as Korn and Limp Bizkit. Surprisingly, they didn’t succumb to the growing trend of studio production sucking out the subtleties and scars that make rock records great.
The Blood Brothers, however, have joined a select few artists who have managed to maintain their edge by using the studio as a means of creativity rather than conformity. The music is ruthless, as tight dance hooks spill into thrashing psychotic outbursts, propelled forward by the relentless fervor and flamboyance in the shrill screams of vocalists Johnny Whitney and Jordan Blilie. Unlike so many rock albums, there is a clear strive for sincerity in the music. This comes through, surprisingly, not with studio orchestras or vocoders, but with the pick scrapes, feedback, missed notes, and extraneous noise all of which is the result of a band actually playing music. That’s not to say that there isn’t a sensitivity toward details, because “Crimes” is without a doubt a studio album, but it’s this fact that makes the recording so, dare I say it, beautiful.
The hardcore scene has always possessed this raw clash of musicality and aggression that gets under even the most reluctant listener’s skin, but on records that sense is often buried beneath smoothed out recordings that seem far removed from the images of the chaos that typically ensues on stage. Listening to “Crimes,” one can hear the convulsing drummer, defiled guitars, and the veins popping on the foreheads of front men Whitney and Blilie. Surprisingly, my reaction to this cacophonous collection of songs is not to go break a window with my fist or beat up a security officer, but rather a simple sigh of relief and a very satisfied smirk.