Elder Brother - Stay Inside (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Elder Brother

Stay Inside (2018)

pure noise records

Elder Brother have an indie warmth to them which I'd say played a part in the emo revival at the turn of this decade. 2014's Heavy Head remains one of my favorite records in the genre, throwing nods to bands like Have Mercy, The Hotelier and The World Is A Beautiful Place...

Four years later and Stay Inside adopts a more mainstream/college radio approach. Sure, there are still twangy jams with that Midwestern emo burn (hi, Signals Midwest); but it's a totally fresh approach from a band that I'd say can pull off just about any style they really put their minds to. There are some shackles that need to be broken though so they can run really wild and achieve their full potential.

Most of the record focuses on the slow-loud-slow indie dynamic but on songs like "No Reason," there's a bit more fluidity to it, speeding up a la Jimmy Eat World -- another band that I felt on their last album. Then there are songs like "No Reason" which feel pulled from the alt. rock vein of bands like Incubus. 

So, at this point it feels less indie, right?

Well, there are tracks indicative of the last album like "Sway" -- which feels influenced by "In My Bones" aka their biggest song to date -- and one of the best ever heard from any band. The same goes for "Earthbound," whose lyrics are just as endearing as the title implies. And as usual, Elder Brother can best be described as poetry in motion, with vulnerable, heartfelt lyrics on the rigors of life and love. The biggest surprise though comes later on through "I Don't Miss You" with its windy, mathy guitars a la Pet Symmetry. Tracks like this, where the band roams and wanders uninhibited, feel like their strength and hopefully they tread more of this water moving forward.

And that's because quite a few of the songs here are safe and forgettable. Had this been an EP, it would have felt so much tighter. As it stands right now, the filler tracks don't register at all. But at the end of the day, I'm just glad Elder Brother are grinding again. They've got so much to offer and hope they churn out more stuff even quicker. Four years was way too long...