According to their press kit, The Como Brothers are required listening for those in the world partial to the sugary entremets churned out by the likes of John Mayer, Andy Grammer, Jason Mraz, and Maroon 5.
I find this interesting, because, other than Mayer’s occasional routine under the guise of Delta Blues, none of these artists have ever managed to galvanize both my head and heart enough to warrant all that mainstream attention. They simply plug along as cookie cutter creations of the Hollywood hype machine in hopes that their anodyne melodies latch onto the public consciousness without fail.
Like Wonder Bread, they appear nourishing at first glance, but, in reality, they’re just as ordinary, uninspiring, and tailor-made for mass consumption as the rest of the drivel currently corrupting America’s adolescent population.
What happened to the challenging poetic nuances of Patti Smith or the iconoclastic shape-shifting of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground?
It appears they’ve been replaced by a generation of inconsequential pop monstrosities and the corporate invertebrates who pay them. I get that every decade is bound to produce its fair share of cringe-inducing creations, but even the low points of the 1980s Sunset Strip scene weren’t this low.
Perhaps I should have been born in an earlier decade, because, when I look around at what my peers accept as the music of the moment, I’m apprehensive about what the industry’s future holds.
I bring this up, because the latest album from The Como Brothers Band didn’t induce any of those negative emotions once I began to dig in. Baby Steps is exactly as advertised, a safe, jaunty exercise in pop-rock gusto that doesn’t contain any of the vapid trappings of an Adam Levine or Miley Cyrus.
Because it’s an independent release, it knows where it wants to go, and doesn’t overstay its welcome in the course of getting there.
Gotta Be True pulls off a Franz Ferdinand simulation as well as could be expected, mostly due to the fact that Andrew Como’s guitar tone transcends the usual nondescript nature of such compositions. His playing overall is inspired on each track, but the songs themselves are stuck in a lukewarm state of being likely to cause you to forget about them the next day.
That’s not to say they’re bad by any stretch, they’re just not likely to leave you wondering why these guys haven’t endeared themselves to the critical establishment as of yet.
To their credit, every line about love, sex, and relationships rings true in atypical NYC fashion, because the earnest self-confidence never comes off as anything but. Putting together a bombastic Big Apple production would have been easy given pop’s current trend-hopping obsession, but the brothers opt for a little more substance here.
They present themselves as being more genuine than most mainstream bands, an observation that shouldn’t supersede the fact that their sound fails to transcend the genre enough to bring me fully onboard. You can tell they had a blast recording this material, I just wish they had managed to funnel that excitement into a more powerful statement.
Other than the City and Colour-esque Chasing Ambience, I never experienced a moment in which the band’s staying power was solidified.
Straight Face, Hey Kristen, Make a Move and Bad Karma are all reminiscent of the type of innocent background noise you’d hear at an early ‘00s college party, so, if you don’t expect too much, you won’t have to stray too far from your comfort zone to enjoy it.
Just put it on, and let the fact that it’s not Bangerz be enough to merit your attention.