REVIEW: Viva Brother – “Famous First Words”

Viva Brother / Famous First Words / Universal

Buried beneath indie and pop’s rampage on UK music, the lads of Viva Brother present a sound that’s refreshing rather than stale, overdone and distasteful. It’s no secret the Slough quartet have a knack for addictive britpop in the vein of Oasis and The Stone Roses and their attitude is as equally flamboyant as the Arctic Monkeys in 2006, but their thirst to perform is overlooked. Going from rural utopia to throwing out harmonies to crowds spilling out into the street in Austin isn’t a touching script crafted by a faceless major label. It’s more of a tangible storyline, with Famous First Words being a rough copy. Ignore the signs of a britpop revival and Viva Brother’s debut is a hook-laden piece of work mixing different shades of simplicity to choke out your attention.

“Time Machine” cracks the whip with a grime-brushed riff that floods into Leonard Newell’s eminent voice that casually flirts with pitch (“David, “Still Here”). When Newell isn’t caught up being reckless with melodies, his mates are keen on unleashing radio-heavy rhythms and playful exclamations (“New Year’s Day”, “High Street Low Lives”) that embellish Famous First Words. “Electric Daydream” has a Gallagher feel to it but “Darling Buds Of May” differentiates Viva Brother from any act, merging ego with vocal art and a handful of modern rock guitar. Call it formulaic, cliched or reserved, there isn’t a single Brit act resuscitating a casket-ready sound that shaped a movement. Underneath it all, one could say they’re just being audacious innovators.

Download: “Darling Buds Of May”, “High Street Low Lives”


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  • Francis says:

    How much did you get paid to give this record more than one star? Darling Buds of May can’t “differentiate them from any act” when all of the riffs in it are stolen from other songs. Do your research next time.

  • Heather says:

    I’m almost positive these guys don’t make anything off the site. I really like this band. Great to see a nice review after all the hits they’ve taken.

  • James says:

    Great to read a truthful honest and plausible review. The press has had it out for these guys from day 1 because they feel threatened by music which is joyful for no other reason than to make people happy. It’s not a perfect album but it is bloody good. They’re not pretending to be innovative. They are trying to make an album of good rock and roll songs that make themselves and other people happy. Judging by the performance on iTunes (nr 2 in the alternative chart within 24 hrs), it seems that the record buying public know a good thing when they hear it an aren’t interested in what some jumped up muso journalist thinks.

  • Kevin Doyle says:

    fuck what they say about viva brother being copycats of oasis and blur and the fact that they’re pure gobshites, the album is pretty decent. The problem is they’ve got the marketing wrong, they should have stayed away from the indie scene and should have tried to aimed for a more commercial or radio friendly market because pop music fans would enjoy them more and find them different

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