For anybody who spent their adolescence gorging on guitar bands, there’s something about power-pop and summertime. Those bright riffs, the sunny vocal melodies, the top-down cheerfulness of it all — all beg to be turned up while you cruise to your favorite warm-but-breezy destination.
The debut album from The Brothers Steve — titled “#1” — arrives just in time. With its roots in the British Invasion and the American music that movement inspired (think Tommy James, the Monkees, Strawberry Alarm Clock), the Los Angeles quintet crunches and jangles merrily (and reverentially) along, as endearingly nonchalant as a bowl haircut.
The genre is in good hands here. Three of the members of the Brothers Steve played in the L.A. band Tsar, who spent the Aughts writing hooks as if it were 1968. Included is Jeff Whalen, who earlier this year released a solo album cut from the same cloth, “10 More Rock Super Hits.” The singer-guitarist is joined by ex-Tsar mates Jeff Solomon (bass) and Steve Coulter (drums). And they’re joined by singer Os Tyler (from the jazz-swing ensemble Frogtown Serenaders) and singer-guitarist Dylan Champion (Shapes of Race Cars).
Produced by Luke Tierney, the album finds the three vocalists on their game, weaving harmonies in and out of “#1’s” snappy songs. Despite first impressions — “Angeline” and “Carolanne” were the first two videos released — the Brothers Steve don’t just write about girls. They flex some muscle on “We Got the Hits” and “Beat Generation Poet Turned Assassin,” both immediately familiar owing to the chord progressions. Speaking of, the start of the sweet, jangling “Good Deal of Love” will remind Britpop fans of the La’s classic “There She Goes.”
The single “She” appears on this year’s compilation that annually is distributed to attendees of the International Pop Overthrow festival. The annual summertime conflagration of power-pop artists (76 bands playing 13 shows over 10 days, rotating between four venues) kicks off tonight, and the Brothers Steve are playing the opening weekend.
For now, the album is only available physically, on limited-edition blue vinyl.
||| Stream: “She”
||| Also: Watch the videos for “Angeline” and “Carolanne”
||| Live: The Brothers Steve play Saturday night at Molly Malone’s as part of International Pop Overthrow [see full schedule], along with Fire Chief Charlie, Punch Punch Kick, Timmy Sean & The Celebrities, Davey Meshell & The Transatlantics and New Maximum Donkey. Tickets at the door.