The Cash Brothers
A Brand New Night
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2003, Volume 10, #11
Written by John Metzger
While The Cash Brothersí debut was firmly rooted in the alt-country of Steve Earle as well as the alt-folk of Matthew Ryan, its latest effort A Brand New Night finds the duo of Andrew and Peter Cash embracing a more pop-oriented sound. Not that a touch of country twang doesnít continue to drift through its songs, but this is now more of an adornment, left to color lightly the compositions rather than serve as their raison díetre. Unfortunately, the new direction fails to pass muster, and while The Cash Brothersí lyrical prowess has taken a modest step forward, its melodic ingenuity has fallen on tougher times, though itís not for lack of trying.
Each song on A Brand New Night is pleasing enough in its own way, but few ever seem to rise above being more than simply affable background music. Despite the threat of Neil Young-like guitar that rumbles around beneath the Jeff Lynne-ish groove of Youíre It, the tune never really seems to catch fire, sounding instead like an alt-country rendition of Simon & Garfunkel with far less poetic lyrics. Just when it seems that The Cash Brothers might be onto something with the funky strains of Give Me Your Hips, the album languishes within the Tom Petty-light languor of the subsequent Feel Another Way, a track that strives to be Pettyís Only a Broken Heart but comes up short due to an ineffective chorus.
Unquestionably, there is a restless desperation that bestows a sense of urgency upon the lives of the characters that dwell within The Cash Brothersí songs, but this discontented edge winds up turning into mild complacency when tempered by the overly easy-going music. Though sweet harmonies and pop-sensible melodies can inform tales of troubled lives with tears of sadness as well as rays of hope, on A Brand New Night, the arrangements become merely charming, and thatís not enough to make them memorable.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box