REVIEW: Luther – Siblings & Sevens


Artist: Luther
Album: Siblings & Sevens
Genre: Indie punk
Label: Independent

Perfection bores me to no end. Perfection is so clean and predictable, there is nothing interesting about that. Now, that isn’t a band thing at all times; I want, for example, my microwave, to be perfect, it want it to be clean and predictable, I don’t want it to set fire to my cat if I try to defrost a bagel, I suppose it would be ‘interesting’, but I like my cat, and my bagels. But that’s precisely my point, my microwave is an appliance by design, it’s not supposed to be an object that inspires emotion. But for all the fun things in life, perfection isn’t the goal, it’s soul. It’s the precise reason why there will always be more posters of Ferraris than Toyota Camrys on children’s walls. This same concept applies fully to music, although the idea is sort of dying. With the state of recording technology, perfection is such an easy and cheap thing to achieve, so there is no reason to put out a poor quality album. But then again, my favorite recordings sound terrible from a technical standpoint, things like the old Shabutie albums – Coheed before they were Coheed – they sounded awful, but they had soul, the imperfections made it interesting. Using today’s technology, most imperfection is simply poor execution, which definitely isn’t the same thing as soul. Most bands don’t even try to employ so much soul anymore, which is a shame, it means that music is losing it’s very purpose. Which is why I was so excited to listen to Siblings And Saints, by Luther, an indie punk band from Philadelphia, that has an unmistakable Get Up Kids or Braid vibe to them, which is the highest of accolades in the pop punk community. Luther isn’t a perfect band, no one used Beat Doctor on their drum tracks, nothing has been overly sampled, or pitch-corrected; it’s absolutely brilliant.

That isn’t to say that Siblings And Saints was half-hearted, quite the opposite actually. The album is honest and true, entirely untampered with; recorded, and presented in it’s raw form, everything – flaws and all – on display for everyone to see. It’s so easy for a band to hide behind electronic crutches, but Luther doesn’t. And the end result is a filthy and perfectly unpolished album. But it’s all presented in that sort of way that causes the imperfections to enhance the whole experience, and inject an intangible depth to the album. Siblings & Saints begins with the title track, with an acoustic guitar, accompanied by the raw and strained vocals that foreshadow the rest of the album. This then leads into “This Is Like Fight Club”, a fantastic track that captures the ethos of pop punk’s golden era, and showcases the passion that has largely gone missing these days, in favor of perfection. Of course, my praise of this album isn’t purely based around the novelty of the fact that Luther chooses to forego sterile perfection, it’s about the fact that this rawness augments the passion and honesty of Siblings And Saints, which is really the point of punk and all it’s subgenres, but it seems as though most people have forgotten that. And that is why this is such a good album, it’s not about nostalgia, or just to be contrary as times change, it’s about the one thing that Pro Tools can’t fix, it’s about soul.

While bands become more and more like appliances; like my microwave, or a Toyota Prius, doing exactly what they should, with no quirks or flamboyance, thanks to every plug-in Pro Tools has to offer; Melodyne, Beat Doctor, and so on, and thus most passion and soul drip out of music, to be replaced by technology. But it’s nice to find something as interesting as Siblings And Sevens every once in awhile, to shake things up a little bit, and give me something to be excited about. Unfortunately, that phenomenon is becoming all too rare, though while I said Luther feels like The Get Up Kids or Braid, they will never sound old or outdated. After all, no matter how technologically advanced a Prius may become, people are always going to lust after the Ferraris, even if they never stop breaking down, getting 8 MPG, and catching fire, because simply put, that’s exactly the point.

Reviewed by: Mike Hogan

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • lutherFan

    siblings and sevens, not siblings and saints.