When many pop stars sing about "girls" it sounds creepy, especially when they're aging badly. When Nat & Alex Wolff sing about girls, they mean girls. These siblings are tweens -- Nat is 17, Alex 13 -- and write songs about what they know, girls and peer pressure and heartache. They have an innocence that would be sappy if they were much older, but it comes off as genuine and rather endearing. To their young fans, they probably sound wise beyond their years; to older folks the songs have a refreshing innocence. The duo achieved fame on the 2007-2009 Nickelodeon show The Naked Brothers Band, a mockumentary created by their mother, Polly Draper, that charted the antics of an allegedly famous preteen band. When the show was canceled, they moved to YouTube, where they post weekly short episodes and music videos. Nat plays keys and guitar, Alex drums and guitar, and both sing. On-stage they're backed by professional adult musicians -- their dad is Michael Wolff, a jazz pianist and producer, best known for his stint as music director on The Arsenio Hall Show -- but their songs manage to retain a their naïve charm. In the studio, they play everything themselves, except for some rhythm loops supplied by producer Matt Wallace (Faith No More, Maroon 5). Alex is the better singer, with a natural, quavering tenor that probably makes the girls swoon. "Thump Thump Thump," a catchy soft rock song about young love, shows off his delicate singing style and sports a killer hook to boot. Alex croons about his heart breaking on "Colorful Raindrops," a song with a sharp rhythm track, but he rocks out on "Lullaby," a midtempo tune that leads up to a strong chorus full of crunchy power chords. Nat's tunes include "18," a pissed-off song of teen rebellion that sounds like AC/DC-lite. "Maybe" describes a boy struck silent and motionless by the object of his affection, with an appropriately apprehensive vocal. The folksy "I Won't Love You Any Less" is mostly acoustic guitar and vocals, with Nat describing the tribulations of unrequited love. It's a beautiful folk-pop tune with a great melody. The brothers' harmonies throughout are smooth, and like country siblings, they blend beautifully into a sound greater than the sum of its parts. The album is definitely teen pop, but it's got a heart and soul older folks can appreciate as well.
AllMusic Review by j. poet