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The Harmed Brothers – Across the Waves (Fluff and Gravy Records)

8 June 2020

On album number five, The Harmed Brothers go 10-for-10 with a mostly gentle, always soulful lineup of songs that slowly slip in and have their way with you. The Ludlow, Kentucky-based band takes touches of country, indie rock and pop, ace songwriting, lovely/weary vocals by Alex Salcido and Ray Vietti, and knocks out winner after winner.

It should probably not be a surprise that hurt is a theme throughout Across the Waves for a band named the Harmed Brothers. Riding a cool keyboard groove, “Born A Rotten Egg” looks backward with regret and a features a narrator born to “sweep the stage” along with a broken-hearted mother and others who are “aching and breaking.” On another family history-focused song, “In a Staring Contest,” a proud father’s good camcording intentions go south on booze and the “memories get taped over.”

Featuring the fading act of holding a newspaper in your hands, and a world “running out of truth,” “Funnies” is terrifically engaging, pushed forward mightily through Ryan Land’s drums. “All the Same,” “River Town,” and “Ride it Out” are also highlights on an album with an abundance of them, and the seven-minute, album-ending “Time” burns slow, flares up with raging guitars and then fades away on pedal steel and a promise to stay and “keep playing these songs.”