Sunday, 16 July 2017

Among Brothers - I Am Certain / I Do Not Believe

Among Brothers were a band I got into because I was friends with one of the members. A few years before they became a band (I think) my friend Hugh became friends with Matt after arranging the local Oxjam festival with him. Matt ended up coming to an All Tomorrow's Parties with us and we've been friends since.

A while later, Among Brothers were playing their EP release show in Cardiff the night before Taint played their last ever show in Swansea. I was making the trip back to Wales for the Taint show, so it was a nice bonus that if I got there a night earlier I could see Among Brothers too. A further coincidental bit of timing was that the week beforehand a friend had arranged a trip to Centre Parks near Bath, so I had even more reason to be in that part of the country. As we drove away from Centre Parks (marginally hungover) the sky began turning very dark and somewhere between Newport and Cardiff it started dumping snow. I have never seen snow like that in the UK before. The motorway slowed down to about 20mph as I tried to follow the gaps in the snow the car in front of me had carved out, whilst my window-wipers swept the window clean as fast as they could. We arrived into Cardiff very slowly (as I quickly learnt that in icy weather brakes are your enemy – the only safe way to stop is to drive so slowly the car stops naturally; we very nearly hit a camper van, but at such a speed it would have been a tap on the bumper; we also skidded worryingly sideways at a traffic light). I parked as best I could outside Hugh's house, which was at nearly 45 degrees to the curb due to the snow mounds that had built up.

Nonetheless, we walked into town for the show, trying to keep to grassy sidings that weren't as slippery as the pavements had become. The Among Brothers show was great – they had balloons and tetrahedron flyers about the EP. The turnout was pretty good too, despite the weather. I have vague memories of lots of drinking afterwards in Dempseys, followed by a fairly hungover day before Taint. We got the train to Swansea quite early, mainly because the snow was promising all sorts of disruptions. Taint were great (as ever) and a debaucherous night followed in Swansea with a lot of acquaintances, dancing to Michael Jackson, eating kebabs and sleeping on Stubb's living room floor. The Sunday morning, we returned to Cardiff but I couldn't face the task of digging the car out of the snow and attempting to drive home, so I simply parked it slightly better and got the train back to London (I picked the car up about a month later in the end, since Christmas got in the way). It's worth noting that this whole trip was my first long distance trip since getting a car (having passed my test a few years earlier and barely driving in-between) so I was slightly scarred by the experience. In hindsight, it might have been unwise to go to Wales given the forecast of snow, but a) snow forecasts are rarely accurate in the UK and b) it was Taint's last show, so I had to.

All of that is a long aside, but often in my mind when I listen to Among Brothers. I saw the band a few times since, lastly on an early date with my wife. I've always had a lot of time for their music and I still listen to their EP a lot. I’ve listened to this 7" considerably less so, but mainly because I don't have the mp3s for it and I don't often sit down to listen to 7"s these days. I found it for £2.50 in Sister Ray in London about two years after it came out (I remember meaning to buy it when it came out, but then forgetting all about it). The sleeve is hand-numbered and mine is #499 (apparently out of 500, which is quite cool).

I Am Certain is a good song, but not as strong as the ones on the EP; it tries to fit a lot into five minutes, and I think suffers for it. I Do Not Believe, on the other hand, benefits from its relative simplicity and is my favourite of the two - the chorus, when it finally hits in the dying moments of the song, has a Sufjan Stevens feel to it, which works well.

Format: 7", numbered
Tracks: 2
Cost: £2.50 new
Bought: Sister Ray, London
When: 23/05/14
Colour: Black
Etching: none
mp3s: no