He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – Nobody Dances In This Town[Album]

He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – Nobody Dances In This Town[Album]

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Over the last few years, several artists have managed to successfully resuscitate the theatrics of old vaudeville and revival productions (see The Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer’s solo work – to name just the biggest of big names) and actually made the form interesting again. It’s been really cool to watch and, with that success at hand, it almost seemed inevitable that interest would shift to another fading style of music, and someone would try to start reviving it too. If L.A.-based quintet He’s My Brother She’s My Sister is any indication, the next big retro interest might be rockabilly (again) and the band’s new album, Nobody Dances In This Town, will be the first bowshot of the movement in that direction, if it does play out that way.

Right from the top of “The Tales That I Tell,” a few knowing smirks will appear on the faces of those listening. The same sort of speedy guitar noodling which used to serve as the warm-up for the monsters of rockabilly during the first revival in the Eighties (The Stray Cats) and the second revival in the Nineties (Reverend Horton Heat) surfaces, and HMBSMS wastes no time in dusting the music off and pomading it up to present it, new. Here, singers Robert and Rachel Kolar take a page from performance that Brian Setzer and Gwen Stefani made of “You’re The Boss” (which appeared on Setzer’s The Dirty Boogie album in 1998) and inflate it to staggering proportions with a bit of dramatic flare and a new sense of style. Here, the guitars run hot but play with a footloose feel too which keeps the toes tapping and the atmosphere light, and listeners will find it easier and easier to get used to the idea of some new, un-ironic rockabilly ideas appearing on a record in the twenty-first century.

As the record progresses, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister prove that new and exciting life can indeed be found in rockabilly, but the band really goes out of its way to make sure they don’t stick to a script or fall into any formulaic patterns, and they regularly reach out to include other sounds to spice up what they’re doing. Tracks including “Let It Live Free,” “The Same Old Ground,” “Electric Love” and “Clackin’ Heels” all feature a bit of rockabllly, but it’s often overshadowed by sounds which are staple to genres like indie rock (“Electric Love” sounds a bit like a Hunx and His Punx tune), country  (“Wake Your Heart” shares a few strands of DNA with Loretta Lynn and Neko Case) and classic college rock (The Replacements sit in the periphery of “The Same Old Ground”); all of which add a rich and different flavor to the proceedings.

Of course, the first time through the record, listeners may harbor a bit of skepticism at how well anything on Nobody Dances In This Town might work out, but even the most hard-boiled cynics will find themselves won over by the hybrid styles that He’s My Brother She’s My Sister comes up with, because the campy side of the music enriches the more experimental side of the band’s drive and vice versa. In the end, while obvious generic elements still stand out among these eleven tracks, the best way to look at this album is also the simplest; it’s a rock record, and anyone who likes rock regardless of sub-genre will find something to enjoy in Nobody Dances In This Town.




Nobody Dances In This Town
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .


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