Thursday 1 August 2019

LISTEN: The Teskey Brothers - 'Run Home Slow'

Happy Thursday! I’m really excited to share a write-up of a lovely new album that is released tomorrow, from Aussie group The Teskey Brothers. It’s actually only a few weeks since I first listened to the band with the release of single So Caught Up. The track fell into my inbox, I posted about it (saying that I was “really really digging this one”) and was soon watching the band play a set on the Communion Music stage at Citadel Festival. I really enjoyed their set and was as blown away by frontman Josh’s vocals live as I expected. Maybe more. Despite their mid-afternoon slot, the band managed to fill out the tent, playing to a large audience of adoring fans who were lapping up new music alongside older tracks.

Hailing from the outback near Melbourne, The Teskey Brothers are a four-piece made up of brothers Josh (vocals) and Sam Teskey (guitar) alongside Brendon Love (bass) and Liam Gough (drums). They started playing music together as teenagers, realising that they shared a love for 1960s American soul music - an influence which remains clear in the music they’re releasing now. They released debut album Half Moon Harvest around two and a half years ago, for which they were awarded ‘Best Soul, Funk, R’N’B or Gospel Album' at The Age Music Victoria Awards (as well as Best Emerging Act). As well as a positive critical reception, the release of the album saw them starting to amass a larger following and play bigger shows, with recent sell-out shows in Union Chapel and Omeara in London.

Run Home Slow is the album’s follow-up and - I think/hope that fans will agree - it is worth the wait! Recorded straight to 2-inch tape, the band are keen to honour the methods and sounds of old school Motown. Presented as a rebellion to the digital age, the album delivers a quite endearing level of authenticity and rawness that is quite rare in our current age where most music is heavily-produced. From the very first notes of opening track Let Me Let You Down a false-start makes it clear that we're hearing a live take. For me, elements like that give the album some character - who wants a perfect take anyway?

The band enlisted the help of producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Andrew Bird) who flew to the band’s home studio in Victoria to work on the album. Together they've created a record which sees a sonic progression from the first record, whilst still maintaining the elements of that record which fans had loved so much. Of this process, drummer Liam Gough explains that “we were really aware that we didn’t want to alienate fans […] We feel really proud of the first album, but the second album needed to be a step up.

I think it's testament to the recording process that I'm struggling to pick out favourite tracks on the record - I feel that it works best as a whole. I'm loving Hold Me at the moment, particularly in a gorgeous performance for US show CBS This Morning (watch below) - those harmonies are sublime. As my first introduction to the band and one of the livelier tracks on the record, So Caught Up also remains a highlight for me. Falling around the half-way mark of the album, it enlists a bit more ‘pop’ than fans of the band might be used to. Bassist Brendon Love details that it “was a bit different to what we’d normally play […] but we were also quite excited about that.” Judging by the reaction the track got at Citadel: so are the fans.

Closing track That Bird came to Josh in a dream while he was camping in the Colorado wilderness (you couldn't make it up.) Bringing the album and its themes to a close beautifully, its gentle groove provides the setting for a conversation about, Josh explains, whether it is “better to live in the present and forget about the past or is it better to learn from the past and use those mistakes to grow from?” 

To summarise: at various points this album will make you want to dance, sing, cry and play your best air-guitar, all while remaining transfixed by Josh’s stunning lead vocals and the glorious musical talents of the entire band. Be sure to take a listen when it is released tomorrow! 

Having sold out Union Chapel earlier this year, they’ve got a sold out Jazz Cafe gig coming up on 3rd September. Be on the look-out for show announcements for later in the year too! 

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