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February 2000 Pick of the Month
Chinlifter
Artist: Brotherhood Lush
Record Label: Independent
Length: 11 tracks/40:11 minutes

Samples
Even if
Don't Go

Brotherhood Lush was a nationally respected outfit even before their debut EP, Milk. They are one of those bands of which you hear nothing but good reports. The follow-up to Milk, Chinlifter promises to keep up that tradition.

The most unique aspect about Brotherhood Lush is how they manage to experiment with a wide range of styles but still keep their own sound. Perhaps it's the enjoyable Australian vocals (nothing like the Newsboys or Beanbag though) or the honest reflection of the band's heart in the lyrics. Whatever it may be, the variety of styles on Chinlifter is, quite simply, amazing. The record begins with aggressive, semi-rap vocals and crunching guitars on "Sunflower." This song is followed by "s>t>p" (which stands for "stuff the party"), a punk rock song boiling to the brim with energy. The tone settles down quite a bit for a soothing acoustic pop song, "Even If" which speaks of the never-ending love of God. "Superclean Mr Clean" is a punk song with strong country influences, which works surprisingly well.  "No One Else" and "Mistaken" both highlight masterful Hispanic-classical guitars, while the final track, "Don't Go" has a distinct country/folk style.

The production is slick, with beautiful photographs of flowers and water used for artwork. Ben McFall's vocals are heard clearly while "Eye" Brown's guitaring is placed fairly high in the mix. Jeff De Araujo's drumming is well executed.  Dave Cullen, who plays bass guitar, double bass, and the green plastic whistle, does all his jobs faultlessly.

Every song on Chinlifter is bound to please, but some stand out more than others. "Mistaken" is one of those songs you could expect to hear in a Mexican restaurant as background music, with its Hispanic flavoring and solemn mood. "Addiction - Demonstration Model" is a one-phrase song bordering on an instrumental track. "Superclean Mr Clean" is the second punk song on the record, but is not as heavy as "s>t>p," while still being a fundamentally cool, moshable track. The stand-out song, however, would have to be "Mind Your Head." This is the kind of song that could easily become a concert favorite, with steady head-banging material and an addictive chorus ("Mind your head!").

Another aspect to Brotherhood Lush which makes them favorites among Australian crowds is their use of casual language. A prime example of this is "s>t>p":

Stuff the party get on home
Call your friends and have a barby (note: short for BBQ)
In your head you're not alone
Cook enough to feed an army
The use of slang puts non-Christian listeners at ease and lets the band's message come through in a medium that is more acceptable to the audience. This message examines the never-ending love of God on "Even If," protecting what we let into our heads ("Mind Your Head"), and having a personal relationship with God ("No One Else"). "Mistaken" talks about one person's realization that the things of this world and Satan give us nothing.
Here I go, I am lonely
I want to take you with me to my world and live
So I dream with hope and wonder
I'm so captured by this moment, you're the one
And I know, without discretion
This is precious, this is heaven, this is love

Oh but I was mistaken
And oh and I am a fool
Oh I was mistaken
There was nothing, coming from you

The only song which does not have the punch of the rest of the album is "Couldn't Stay the Same," but does manage to please through a nice guitar work. The lyrics are also laid out somewhat annoying, spanning the entire width of the sleeve. They are also very small, so it is quite hard to read along with the music.

Chinlifter is an indication of the potential of Brotherhood Lush. Of all the great Australian independent bands, Brotherhood Lush could be the one to get signed to a major record deal. I look forward to future projects, but I'm sure Chinlifter will keep me satisfied for many listens to come.

Eric Daams 1/15/2000

 

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