Guitar-driven and tempered with a bit of alternative rock subtlety describes the self-titled debut EP from The Söur Bruthers. The band’s ‘Söurlicious’ indie twang resides at a Chicago-area address, where the music is polished with vintage warmth and a distinctly modern style. Impressive electric leads, a well matched rhythm section and appealing vocal performances dominate the six-track collection. Lyrical themes lend a tailor-made songwriting touch to each cut. But there is more to the music.
A heavy four-four drum beat lays the foundation on the opening track, “Sinkin’ Down,” as slide guitar fills ooze with a swampy attitude. The rhythm section thumps away with a catchy fist-pumping, foot-tapping pulse, providing an able route for the lead vocalist’s arrival. With each of the band’s cylinders primed and greased, a steady pace rules the music. In some measure, reckless abandon adds to the Söur Bruthers’ characteristic twangy sound. This is just for starters.
Another highlight from the album, the 2:27 “3 a.m.,” begins with a brief piano intro followed by a tightly strummed acoustic guitar layer before the drums, bass and vocals move in to create a country instilled flavor. The mood, somewhat plaintive, evokes an authentic feel on par with alt-rockers Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. The lyrics to “3 a.m.” reveal a personal perspective adding to the genuineness: “You walked out that door and I don’t see you any more, well, life just ain’t worth living without you…”
Changing things up is “All I Want,” a potent blend of performance, instrumentation and production, featuring some terrific bass playing and impressive guitar solos. After listening to the song, we couldn’t help but think of Bill Szymczyk, the longtime music producer for Don Henley and The Eagles. String bends and scale runs keep things shaking on “Release Me,” while “Wash Away” conveys a more serious tone. The Söur Bruthers are Tim Söur – guitar/vocals; Mikey A. – guitar/vocals; Bill Söur – bass/piano/ keyboards/vocals; and Tony A. – drums.
Interview with The Söur Bruthers
Musicinterviewmagazine.com caught up with The Söur Bruthers for questions and answers about the new album.
With the EP containing all original tracks, who writes and arranges the band’s songs?
Bill: Tim is an obsessive compulsive songwriter. He’ll do a guitar/vocal demo and send the idea to me to see if I hate it. If I don’t, I’ll whip up a quick Pro Tools MIDI demo with my first thoughts on layout, melody, tempo, etc. and send it back to him to see if he hates it. If he doesn’t, he’ll send me notes and audio files of vocals or guitars. We pass around the song to the band and keep adding audio. Two years later we have six songs. Tim probably has 200 songs. I can’t keep up.
What motivates you to write a song?
Tim: Really hard to say. I can go for months without writing and then a flurry of ideas might just show up. Inspiration for a song usually comes with a line and a melody. If it’s good it will get stuck in my head like a song on the radio. That will motivate me to sit down and work out all the rest including the music and lyrics. I do a lot of binge writing.
Among the songs, “Sinkin’ Down” and “Release Me” have some tasty slide guitar work going on. What type of finger slide was used? Do you like a higher action for slide?
Bill: Mikey A. removes his low E string and tunes to open G for slide songs. Action is normal-ish because he fingers a lot of notes too. I think he uses a glass tube, but I know he uses a Corona Lite bottle for the “Roll on By” solo live. It’s funny when he tries to slam the beer after the solo because sometimes he leaves too much in the bottle and he has to chug it. Mikey A.’s not a big drinker.
When recording the EP, were the guitars plugged into amplifiers and then mic’d, or run straight in to the mix?
Bill: We use every way possible. Tim mostly mic’s his Fender Deville for rhythm tracks. Mikey A. turned me onto Native Instruments Guitar Rig plugin and authentic digital amp modeling. He’ll split his signal and send me the mic’d amplifier audio and the direct guitar signal into the board for me to screw around with. I can digitally change amps, cabinets and mics after it’s recorded. It’s easy to go down the post-production rabbit hole though.
We noticed during one of the videos from a live show, both guitarists were playing Fender® Telecasters. Is that part of the trademark “Söurlicious” sound?
Tim: Mikey A. has something like 23 guitars, while I have the one Telecaster. Mike’s guitars are mostly all Fenders (Telecasters and Stratocasters). He pretty much has bought another used guitar off the Internet every time we see him. Mikey A. brings the Fender blues sound to the band and I bring the Telecaster country twang. That is definitely in the mix of the Söurlicious rock with a country twang.
Would you ever consider releasing a live album?
Tim: Absolutely. We love performing live and would like to capture that energy on a live album. The band is at its best live. Mikey A. really has some blistering guitar work at the shows which just blows people away. Even the best recordings can’t capture the energy, so this is certainly something that we would really like to do. But first up is getting out another EP or two and working more new material into our live performances. We have a bunch of new songs in the works right now that we are really excited about.
What’s next for The Söur Bruthers?
Tim: More EPs, more shows and more Söur. You know it’s crazy. This whole thing started because we wanted to play some rock ‘n’ roll, hang out and have a few beers. It’s like intramural rock ‘n’ roll. The thing is, maybe it’s because we’ve been doing this for years, but somehow this shit got really damn good. And now there’s this buzz in the air like something big is about to happen. We all notice it. People are reaching out to us out of nowhere. We’ve never seen anything like it. It’s awesome. Some lady started crying at our gig the other night telling us how much she loved the set. I mean, she was completely hammered, but I still take it as a compliment.