By Marty Mulrooney
Alternative Magazine Online interviewed Little Brother Eli in early 2013, describing their first song ‘Awkward Positions’ as “wonderfully moody and bluesy”. The exclusive online interview – with frontmen Alex Grew and Joshua Rigal – not only highlighted a wealth of musical talent, but also promised great things to come. The debut Little Brother Eli EP may only be three songs long – but boy, does it deliver.
‘Animal Fair’ opens the EP with a bang. Alex Grew growls rather silly lyrics such as Mr Monkey do you like the way I groove? with such unwavering conviction and soul that they don’t sound silly in the slightest (something The Beatles became masters at), while Joshua Rigal plays those animal blues on bass like nobody else’s business. It’s undeniably fun music cut through with precision musicianship and funky blues riffs. You’ll register their unique sound instantly, sitting up to pay attention.
‘Awkward Positions’ slows things right down for a resonating, furiously soft second track where the noose feels far too tight. Grew’s voice is incredible. Effortless, soulful and with impressive range, he can sing tenderly even when he’s almost shouting. Rigal is never far behind, laying down catchy basslines that never overpower the music and certainly don’t disappoint when they jump to the fore.
‘When She Sings’ is the EP’s most commercially viable track, but that’s by no means a bad thing. From the soft opening vocals, to the impressive guitar sections that evoke The Davey Brothers, to the lighter bopping sections that spring out of nowhere and will have listeners tapping their feet… for a relatively new band, a song of this calibre is extraordinary.
The Little Brother Eli EP is arguably the best £2 you’ll spend on music in 2013. However, I’d suggest going one step further and putting down £3 to get the physical copy, which comes with a bonus track: Hanging [LIVE]. It’s quite possibly their best song yet, mixing a folk/country vibe with twanging guitars and featuring a lovely instrumental section roughly two minutes in that completely steals the entire show. Alex Grew and Joshua Rigal, supported by a fantastic band of talented and passionate musicians, have made the Little Brother Eli project into something truly fresh, exciting and – thank god – unsullied by modern-day music commercialism.
It’s too short by far, but that’s more of a compliment than a complaint. If they can deliver so effectively with only a handful of songs, just try to imagine how good a full length album could be. Get in on the ground floor now folks – this band is going up.
9 OUT OF 10