The Brother Kite

Waiting for the Time to Be Right

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It isn't hard to understand why some folks believe that shoegazer/dream pop and power pop are incompatible. Power pop, for all its poppiness, thrives on rockin' exuberance, while shoegazer bands (even with distorted guitars) are known for being dreamy, spacy, hazy, and surreal (sort of like the alternative pop/rock equivalent of a David Lynch film). But the Cardigans demonstrated that a band could be relevant to both alternative power pop and the shoegazer/dream pop aesthetic, and Lush maintained some dream pop overtones when they gave themselves a major power pop makeover in 1995 with their Lovelife album and the U.K. smash "Ladykillers." So power pop can, in fact, be part of the recipe for shoegazers, which is what happens on the Brother Kite's Waiting for the Time to Be Right. The more uptempo parts of this 2006 release drift into power pop territory, although the Brother Kite are a shoegazer band first and foremost -- and their ethereal sound draws on influences like My Bloody Valentine, the Cocteau Twins, and early Lush as well as the Beatles (post-1965) and even the Beach Boys. Yes, the Beach Boys -- as in '60s surf rock. Brian Wilson and friends might sound like an odd influence to have if you're a shoegazer band, but those "Don't Worry, Baby"/"California Girls"-type harmonies are indeed part of the picture on melodic tracks such as "Lay Down Your Burden" and "Hopeless and Unsung." Another thing that, from a shoegazer/dream pop perspective, is unusual about the Brother Kite is the fact that they have a male lead singer: Patrick Boutwell. From Lush to Shallow to Medicine to the Cardigans, most of the major shoegazer units have had female lead singers. But the Brother Kite are an exception, and Boutwell is a definite asset for the band on this enjoyable CD.

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