Although it’s far from the most spellbinding element in the mix, the piano that greets us from the backdrop of The Roughhousers’ new single “Baby Brother” is unquestionably one of the most important parts of the song. It lends the sort of foundation to the verses in this track that only a rustic accent could, all without overstating the obvious – which is that The Roughhousers while being a band that makes music for children, aren’t writing themselves into a corner stylistically speaking. They’ve got a crossover appeal that makes them fun for kids and adults, and critics like myself have been taking notice.’
I could say even more about what the keys do for the central melodic hook in “Baby Brother,” but there’s debatably as much to appreciate about the piercing guitar element that guides us into the latter half of the track as well. There’s such a fine symmetry to the instrumental construct of this single that there’s really no escaping the lush pull of the music no matter what we’re listening to at the helm of the microphone – which is under the command of one Grey DeLisle, of course. She’s got a ridiculously strong magnetism, but it’s met its match in this performance.
The rhythm of the music is rather gentle and rocks us into a hypnotic state whether we’re prepared for it or not, but at no point would I say “Baby Brother” feels more like a lullaby than the product of conditioned rockabilly tailored to the needs of a young audience. One of my favorite attributes this duo has going for them is their ability to write music that isn’t dumbed down to the market they’re trying to satisfy, which is a common problem with most of the children’s content I cover as a critic.
Non-specificity works as an aesthetic for The Roughhousers for a few reasons, but the most obvious among them has got to be the way this track can be interpreted from a youthful perspective as much as it can an adult’s. The raw emotion that’s on the surface of the song is powerful but not overstated, and the whim of the lyrics only impacts the tone of the story as opposed to what is actually being said. In so many words, this is pure poetry, but the sort that doesn’t need a particular angle from which to be understood.
The Roughhousers are having a hard time evading the buzz they’ve been receiving for the music they’ve recorded in the last year, and this latest release will no doubt add fuel to the fire. “Baby Brother” feels less like a new addition to their discography than it does an affirmation of who they are artistically and professionally, and anyone who had any remaining questions about the authenticity of this duo is likely to be silenced once they get the chance to sit down with this song and its accompanying music video, both of which are currently out and rightly getting a lot of great feedback from fans.
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