On their sixth release, Hail Violet, Braam Brothers add a few rough edges to the homespun, acoustic-based approach they took on their previous effort, Living Room. The Chicago-based quartet, led by siblings Mike, Tom, and Scott Braam, with a roster of guest drummers, still places an emphasis on strong melodies and well-crafted harmony vocals. Most of the 11 new tracks tap into the honored tradition of Midwestern rock while exploring a variety of emotions regarding romantic relationships.
“Darlin’,” which opens with line, “She’s putting my heart back together,” is reminiscent of Spooner and R.E.M., as is “Ur Song,” which mixes keyboards and guitars with enchanting results. There’s more of a sense of resignation on the mostly acoustic “Wasted Heart,” with its echo vocals and the line “You’ve given up on me, and I have too.” “Kiss Me Like A Bomb Explodes” doesn’t rock as hard as the title suggests, but it does serve up some raw guitar playing within a Neil Young-inspired arrangement. The ambitious “Be Bop Life,” with Brad Elvis on drums, was chosen as the first official video from Hail Violet.