Pain and the Opposite LP by The Brothers Union
Much as its name would imply, “A Thousand Tiny Cuts,” the opening number in The Brothers Union’s highly-anticipated Pain and the Opposite LP, unfolds with a great deal of detail, only hinting at the epically melodic deluge of decadence awaiting us around the corner from its signature hook. Alongside chugging riffs and an ascent towards the heavens, we fall into the arms of Pain and the Opposite unable to escape the clutch of The Brothers Union as this track slips into the equally potent “Addicted to Your Love” and the mid-2000s rocker “Here’s to Better Days.” We’re less than a third of the way into this debut, and already it’s obvious that its composers are onto something really special with their creative formula.
“Scarecrow” invites a darkly melodic twist into the otherwise plainly introspective lyrical fodder in Pain and the Opposite before turning us over to the pendulous “Catatonic,” one of the more cerebral tunes in the whole of the tracklist. It’s incredible how fluidly these tracks run into one another; though not an all-out concept album, this new record from The Brothers Union has a way of gripping us like a rock opera would (though the annoying camp frequently tied to such an effort is entirely missing from the mix here).
Whether it be the hesitant stomp of “The Patient” or the chest-pounding plea for attention in “Run,” this group is all-in on the narrative behind Pain and the Opposite, imparting as much of themselves in the music as a singer would a lyric.
We cross the finish line in this LP with the triple-layered cocktail of the whispered “Feel Your Heart,” Silhouettes-style acoustic diatribe “The Perfect Storm” and the speaker-crushing shot of catharsis “Brothers,” each of these songs eclipsing the one that came before it in terms of sheer passion. From beginning to end, The Brothers Union don’t hold back from giving us one of the most unrepentantly honest and emotionally-charged performances of 2020 to date in Pain and the Opposite, and while I came into this record with some relatively impossible demands for its contents, I’m pleased to say that it met all of my expectations without fail. Say what you will of the tristate underground; this is one band that everyone should be listening to this season.