Anyone with a drum kit, a bass and a guitar can make a rock album. Those are the only three ingredients you really need, along with a handful of somewhat rhythmic songs to play. It isn’t difficult to make a plain old rock record, but it is incredibly difficult to make a rock record that doesn’t reuse the formulas of the past. That’s the main reason why you don’t see rock bands being highlighted in mainstream pop music anymore; it isn’t that rock is dead or that people stopped dishing out electrified riffs accompanied by heavy drums and powerful vocals, it’s that the ones that are still around and active aren’t doing much different than the artists who came before them. They aren’t doing anything to evolve their medium, merely playing to a certain taste that they know will sell to a select share of the market. There are those bands and then there is Brother Reverend, who have made a name for themselves by always doing the polar opposite. Their music pushes sonic boundaries by nature, and in their all new record The Tables Turn Too Often, they share with us their most ambitious craftsmanship rendered inside the studio to date.
The Tables Turn Too Often is outfitted with 13 extremely stylish and sleekly appointed tracks that share little in common with each other beyond being penned by the same group, but there is one consistent theme that cohesively binds the entire record. That theme is elaborate eccentricity. Around every corner Brother Reverend is prepared to throw ice water in our direction and shock us with their high caliber musical and lyrical virtuosity. “Anything New,” “North By Sunset,” “Monkee” and “Used Food” could have made an excellent four song EP, but instead they’re joined by nine equally evocative and poignant tracks in what can only be described as the anthology album of the decade. There’s plenty of rock machismo laced into the infectious grooves of The Tables Turn Too Often, but Brother Reverend are very careful not to overstimulate us with their furious style of play. The LP is even keeled from beginning to end by design, and younger artists would benefit from imitating this band’s self-control.
The difference between artists who are invested in the future and those who are only interested in the present is quite simple and evident in the music that they choose to record and release. A song that instantly triggers us to think in familiar terms has no hope of becoming a classic as it is rooted exclusively in the “here and now.” But when we hear a song that sends chills up our spine and doesn’t remind us of anything that we’ve ever heard before explicitly, that’s the music that is really focused towards tomorrow. The Tables Turn Too Often is a glimpse into the future of popular rock, and I for one couldn’t be more intrigued by its articulate construction. I’ll definitely be studying the nooks and crannies of this record for some time to come, and I’m sure other music enthusiasts will likely join me after its release late this month.