CD Review of Who You Are by Cary Brothers

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Who You Are
starstarstarstarno star Label: Blu Hammock
Released: 2007
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After teasing fans with various EPs and by landing songs on shows like “Bones” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” as well as on the Grammy-winning soundtrack to “Garden State,” Cary Brothers has finally completed a full-length album. Who You Are is a collection of eleven new songs with a bonus version of “Blue Eyes,” which was the “Garden State” song. Not only is this album a coming of age for the Nashville native, it’s his best work yet and something that is sure to expand his fan base even further. Brothers may be from Music City, but there is no hint of twang in his voice whatsoever. Instead, he’s got a brooding Thom Yorke-ish voice and music that also resembles early Radiohead, but with a bit more of a pop sensibility that may bring to mind the likes of Butch Walker or Glen Phillips.  

Brothers’ music emotes like some of the best songs in rock history, and there is a comfort to them that is like putting on your softest t-shirt — it just plain feels good to listen. Right from the start, the subtle guitars that rise to a crescendo in the chorus make “Jealousy” the perfect anthem to kick things off. “Ride” may bring to mind indie favorites the Shins, and “Who You Are” is kind of like Yorke fronting Tonic. Then Brothers turns down the volume again and no doubt makes the women swoon with “The Glass Parade” and “Loneliest Girl in the World.” You may occasionally think you’re hearing an eighties flavor in Brothers’ music, and you may confirm that by reading his bio — but the driving guitars and machine gun drumming in “The Last One” confirms that even more. Then, to boot, Brothers covers The Thompson Twins’ “If You Were Here,” a classic eighties number from the “Sixteen Candles” soundtrack.

The last few songs are kind of like the random bits of icing you lick off your plate after a really good piece of cake. Yes, this album is like a treat for your ears, as Brothers manages to take what’s good about the last thirty years of music and create something that is equally compelling and unique. And the best part? He’s not trying too hard or trying to sound like anybody else. He just creates the music, and the arrangements fall into place around that. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better album this year.

~Mike Farley