Kid Brother Collective - Highway Miles (Reissue) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Kid Brother Collective

Highway Miles (Reissue) (2012)

Count Your Lucky Stars

Kid Brother Collective had dipped in and out of that blurred spotlight in the late 90s and early 2000s and now, they pop up again. I always felt they deserved more credit and just a tad bit more than 15 minutes of fame, if they even got that much. Obscure recognition aside, whether or not Highway Miles caught eyes the first time, it still rings amazingly the second time-around. It's definitely one of the most underrated albums of the past decade.

The Flint, Mich. quartet were noted at shows with Small Brown Bike, and you can still hear folks on forums clamoring for a show with KBC, The Promise Ring and Quicksand. "Our Last Night," "Ringfinger" and "Light Sleeper" have soft, acoustic and melodic tones to them that come straight from the heart. The emotion, heart and soul pour out in abundance with the extra effort of endearment. "Light Sleeper" continues this pattern on the record as it blends the rough post-hardcore, alternative and emo sound perfectly.

"Insomnia" also adds to that touching sound, and the fact that there's a rough, demo-like sound on the album adds extra layers and dimensions making it that more appreciable. The iterations of slower songs don't vary that much, as you get a sense it's one big story broken up into little chapters. The record sways from that of a lull and tender sound to more of a youthful, organic and pacy album that shows how much the musicianship of the band shines in its simplicity. There's nothing extravagant or overly technical but it all works well. The record's tinged with out-of-timing vocals that don't hit the right notes all the time but they hit the ones that matter and resonate in translating the message.

The band also temper the record well by conveying the nitty-gritty parts of life, covered by "Prize Fighter'"and the just-as-solid "Failure By Design." The extra heavy edge never distracts from the rough melody. Stripping a record down to its spine and seeing the skin and bone beneath it is usually difficult but again, the simplicity of KBC's layout here actually helps transpose the meaning behind their endearment a bit more. "Sore Loser" proves fully engaging as well, and it's clear by the time the record grinds to a halt, this was an album full of songs that other bands usually touch on once or twice on their own records, if that. KBC's collected the ballads and soft hits that bands rarely disperse and they've smartly thrown them all into one big mix here.

"Too Many Tomorrows" and "Breathing In" help amp the record in swinging from emotive instrumentals to powerful, intelligent crescendos. It's as impressive as it is catchy, although this may not stick initially. It's a safe bet that you'll give this a few listens though because there's something special here that not many records can capture.