(Review) SweetStatic: Weird Brother – True Love is a Dog
Capturing the frenetic and nervous energy that comes with times of uncertainty, Columbus, Ohio natives Weird Brother rise to the challenge of providing a captivating soundtrack for life’s most confusing moments on their debut album, True Love is a Dog. The four-piece psych-rock outfit explores themes of escape, panic, and feelings of entrapment while tense guitar chords and wild, freight-train saxophone solos add to the madness. As a looming sense of unease boils throughout this richly detailed album, Weird Brother manages to maintain a strong pop sensibility with memorable choruses and earworm melodies.
Lead-vocalist and guitarist, Drew Clausen, kicks off the album by urgently flying through lines that examine nervousness and running away, “Jimmy’s got the yips / Dino wants to jam / Jimmy’s showing up / And I’m on the lamb.” A tightly in-sync rhythm section and the enthused vocal performance made the album’s opener an immediate standout and effective precursor hinting at what’s to come. On the following track and the album’s second knockout, “London Bombay,” with saxophone hums in the background over brooding guitars until its fully unleashed around the song’s midway point, discharging an irresistible howl that demands attention. Again, the lyrics revolve around escape, as Clausen sings “My life got in the way / I’m trying to run away / I’ll never see the day / When I can afford to pay.”
Weird Brother take a break from the ferocity and offer more heartfelt and tender moments on “Come Correct,” where gently tickled keys mesmerize the listener until the track grows into a beautifully optimistic finish. “Panic Attack” is equally as powerful on an emotional level and perfectly expresses the disorienting chaos of panic. Chords are strummed quickly, tension is built, and never released.
Occasionally, some tracks, especially the ones that approach the five-minute mark, feel repetitive without much reward. “Lock Me Up,” while interesting with its various percussive instruments, feels very bare, as the minimal guitar work leaves a large gap in the song that needs to be filled. Similarly, “Tiger Team” repeats its short riff for a fair stretch of its length, and only offers a short variation of sound as the track is approaching its close. Compared to other dense, detailed, and meticulously composed moments, this track fails to reach the same highs.
On “War Machine,” at the end of the album, Weird Brother appears to have found peace. “After the rain/ After the rain has fallen down on my mind / So I can sleep at night,” sings Clausen for the track’s entirety. After the intensity of previous tracks like “Panic Attack,” being able to sink into sleep is a cause for celebration, as conflicts are resolved.
Throughout the album’s eleven songs, Weird Brother have proved themselves to be masters of sound and champions of psych rock. Dazzling performances and a wide variety of instrumentation made True Love is a Dogan unforgettable listen.