The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love

The Legende of Jeb Minor

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The most remarkable thing about the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love's debut album The Legende of Jeb Minor is that it sounds entirely out of time. If anything, it sounds like a great unreleased album from the vaults of Harvest Records, since its blend of folk, psychedelia, prog-rock, and sea shanties is of piece with the legendary British label's willfully eccentric bent. Still, such a compliment may seem backhanded, a way to dismiss the record as a self-conscious attempt to recreate the '70s. That's not the case at all. The Legende of Jeb Minor may recall classic progressive albums, but that's only because the Brothers and Sisters have the inclination to follow their ideas past their logical conclusion, resulting in fresh configurations of familiar sounds. The Legende is firmly rooted in folk traditions -- most of the songs are built on acoustic guitars, there are whistles and accordions peppered throughout the mix, the backing vocals are a blend of sea shanties and campfire singalongs -- but it isn't a folk album because the band's sensibilities are somewhat post-modern. They don't see any boundaries between musical styles or genres, or even lyrical subject; there are songs that play as fables and others that sound like myths. They never renounce the past -- they build on it, creating an album that is gently mesmerizing as it sways from tranquil to surging folk-prog anthems. The best thing about it all is that the music always feels familiar, as if you've heard the songs hundreds of times before, yet it simultaneously feels fresh and unpredictable -- in other words, a little out of time, drawing from the past and set in the present, but belonging to neither. It's a neat trick to pull off, and the fact that The Legende of Jeb Minor is a debut effort makes it all the more impressive.

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