Dad Brother: Mavericks
With bands such as The White Stripes and The Black Keys leading the current garage-rock revival, Montclair-based Dad Brother has followed suit with its debut LP, Mavericks. While the nine-track offering does tailor its sound to the riff-heavy, blues rock standard set by the Black Keys, Dad Brother also prefers to bend the genre to its will instead of being just a carbon copy.
The first track, “Scooter & Chippy,” proves this almost immediately. The duo’s tight harmonies ascend over lo-fi blues riffs, bordering that line between raw blues and tight-knit indie — a perfect introduction to the rest of the record. Listeners will find plenty of that impeccable balance on Mavericks. Whether one prefers the developed tangle of guitar arpeggios in “Money & Time” or the unabashed trashiness of Luberger’s drums in the determined “Domino Gasoline,” Dad Brother provides a collection of garage-induced tunes that never become boring. In this respect, the album sometimes even surpasses its influences. And lyrically, the songs generally stay just as charismatic as the music. In the raucous closer, “I am the Trees,” Dad Brother sings “Give me one more cup of coffee/I’ll bring you to your knees” before jumping into a psychedelic guitar solo. The juxtaposition of the images doesn’t quite make sense, which creates a curious absurdity — just enough to kidnap our attention.
With the strong songwriting and mercurial instrumentation, Dad Brother knows how to quickly hook its listeners. Unfortunately, this also presents the album’s biggest flaw: it feels very short. At only nine songs, each one radio-friendly in length, the album’s brilliance is not long-lived. Yet, as far as flaws go, brevity is far better than perpetuity.