The Lost Brothers 'The Passing Of The Night' - Bird Dog

The vocals and songs of Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland have found favour with many since they partnered as the Lost Brothers. This latest album finds them growing in strength as artists. The new album was produced in Nashville by Brendan Benson, who has done a fine job of bringing their sound to the next level.

That sound finds a spiritual home in the place where such acts as the Everlys and the Louvin Brothers recorded. It is easy to make comparisons with such acts,  or with the likes of non-brother harmony duos like Simon and Garfunkel. That however distracts from what they have achieved in their own right and how pleasing the music they have delivered is in itself.
The musicians involved, aside from Leech and McCausland are Benson, Gill Landry and Paul Brainard among others who all play a variety of instruments between them that bolsters the musical. The sound is pleasingly uncluttered and acoustic in setting which gives the songs a sense of space that allows such instrumental interludes as the musical saw in Widow Maker it's place within the song's structure. The sole cover is that of an early 1955 Roy Orbison recording that was written by Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. The eleven songs follow similar patterns that emphasize the understated unison singing of both singers and makes what is the most fundamental (and familiar) aspect of the Lost Brothers' sound.
That makes it difficult to pick out a particular song from the overall  album but the accordion in Blue Moon In September is imbued with a  European feel and the musical saw again makes an appearance. A sound not heard much outside of the recordings of the Flatlanders it is no without a certain charm. The aforementioned Hey Miss Fannie picks the tempo up and shows that there is much to be explored beyond the more normal mid-pace setting. It also has some nice pedal steel running through it. The album closes with the Brothers singing over an abstracted reverbed guitar and pedal steel sound that pushes the boundaries of what may be expected of them. All in all a big step forward for the talented duo who have found their voice in their matched voices.

The Lost Brothers 'So Long John Fante' - Bird Dog

There has always been a rich tradition of familial harmonies in music, especially that of brothers in reality or in spirit. From the Louvin Brothers to the Everly Brothers to Peter and Gordan through to Simon and Garfunkel and on to The Lost Brothers. This duo of Mark McCausland and Oisin Leech fit easily into the established pattern of tight vocal harmonies that complement each other. In the end the key factor is the songs and the duo writing perfectly suits the occasion. On record they deliver a full sound that is played by themselves and three other key players that included producer Colin Elliot and Shez Sheridan. They also, on occasion, use strings and brass to further complement the sound. Recorded in Sheffield last year they appear to have a bright future in front of them that can only grow in time. So Long John Fante is an easy and enjoyable listening experience that compliments their more simplistic two voices, two guitar live set -up.

The nature of what they do means there is a certain overall mood and tone to the songs, with each track following easily from the previous song that sometimes makes you want to hear one or other voice take the lead rather than always being sung in unison. But that may be beside the point, as their sound is what it is and So Long John Fante should be evaluated on it's strengths and it's songs. The highlights at this time include The Goodbye Kid, Golden Dawn and the more uptempo lap-steel and stringed Bells They Wont Ring. All of which The Lost Brothers a great find for those who haven't discovered then before.