This album has a few memorable, radio-friendly tunes, but basically the songs go as far as lead singer Shake is able to take them. With Shake's raspy voice bringing to mind Don Henley and especially an early Bryan Adams, songs like "Moving On" are airtight but don't quite come off as being truly excellent. The song also has a rather tired, clichéd bridge that adds little to the proceedings. At other times, Brothermandude resemble a slightly heavier version of the Dave Matthews Band, particularly on the midtempo pop ditty "Living High," which doesn't soar all that well despite some decent licks by guitarist Matt White. Perhaps the song title that best describes the record is "Slicksville," a slick, moody, and somewhat Middle Eastern mystical number that seems to sag quite quickly despite the meaty, thick Creed-lite chorus. The first real sign of life is the funky Aerosmith-meets-Red Hot Chili Peppers rock oozing out of the surprisingly strong "Painkiller." This leads nicely into the softer, melodic "Automatic," which the band cruises through easily. Unfortunately, for every good effort there is some sonic sludge, including the rather run-of-the-mill rock of "Heart Attack," which dies a slow, painful death. The same can be said for the rather aimless ballad entitled "Manakin," which tries to grow slowly in stature. Another strong track that seems to be lost at the end is the urgent and infectious "I Want to Live," which gallops along to Russell Milton's bassline. But the relaxing, laid-back, retro-sounding "Sending Up a Couple of Souls" is best left to bands like Live.
by Jason MacNeil