The Webb Brothers
It can't be easy being the offspring of a famous iconic legend. Take poor old Julian Lennon for example. No matter what he does he's always going to be compared to his father. The poor lad doesn't stand a chance. Granted Jimmy Webb wasn't quite in the same league as Lennon, but the expectations and level of scrutiny still apply to his sons The Webb Brothers. That said these guys are so laid back and easy going that they'll probably overlook this, do their own thing and let the music speak for itself.
Although you may think the bands have been quite of late nothing could be further from the truth. They've made films, started clubs, have built their own studio in Chicago and in true Osmond style are joined by their younger brother James. There is a mixed bag of tracks on the new album, but still plenty enjoy. "A Funny Ol' Kind Of Music" is a melting pot of traditional and futuristic sounds with a smoothly played acoustic guitar making space for dancey psychedelic synthesizers and a pulsating drum machine. The ever changing Webb voice (more of that later) takes on the guise of an even more laid back Beck on this hook laden slice of throwaway pop. On "Just As Sweet" Christian Webb not only sounds like Jimi Goodwin from Doves, but the entire song, production, mood, atmosphere and lyrical content sounds like Doves circa "The Last Broadcast" which is just uninspired. "Heaven's Never Letting Me In" is a Super Furry Animals style romp with a transatlantic slant with echoes of the Beach Boys melodies, shouty vocals, ragtime piano, New Orleans jazz on a successful hybrid of many eclectic styles. Close your eyes, lay back and bask in the wondrous glory that is "Who Wants To Get High" which makes you feel hazy, lazy and relaxing calm. The lush dreamy vocals melt naturally to the beautifully arranged melody which shares a similar theme to the SFA's "Smoke It".
At this stage of their career The Webb Brothers are still struggling to discover their true identity. Their obvious fondness for the 60s matched with modern technology is an interesting path to take, but all too often the urge to emulate their influential heroes let's that down as being true originals. The musicians who play on this album are superb, really strengthening the sound of the Webb Brothers, themselves already multi-instrumentalists. This is a good but not great album. I feel The Webb Brothers are continually improving, but have yet to reach their peak. Maybe their next album could be the masterpiece we've all been waiting for. Until then these 12 tracks may vary in quality, but they show just enough promise to really astound next time.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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