Kid Brother Collective – Highway Miles

Kid Brother Collective
Highway Miles

It only took one song by Flint, Mich.’s Kid Brother Collective to win me over. That was when they appeared on a split release with Deep Elm’s wunderkids Camber. The three-song EP that followed by the Collective showed a lot of promise, and finally, several years later, we have the band’s first full-length release. And while it shows a band that’s clearly tight and impassioned, it also shows a band that’s unabashedly emo.
For some of you, that’s not a bad thing. To be perfectly honest, I’m a huge fan of the melodic, post-hardcore rock that’s been termed (for good or bad) “emo.” This band can do it as good as just about anyone, using driving, powerful guitars as well as melodic, intricate guitar and rhythm lines. The vocals here are strong, helping to convey the stories of relationships gone awry and a sense of self-realization that are so vital to the genre.
After the mellow introduction, “Insomnia” starts off the release strongly. Following the traditional emo trend of soft to loud, the band mixes pretty, melodic guitar and singing with urgent, driving guitars and almost shouted vocals. Even more driving, with some really blasting guitarwork, “Prize Fighter” ups the intensity a bit more. By contrast, “Sore Loser” is a more mid-tempo, melodic work with my favorite line on the album: “May God forgive me, I don’t know if you can.”
The gruff vocals singing “burning the candle at both ends” to kick off “Failure By Design” show off a more raw side of the band, which matches the more guitar-focused drive on this song. That energy carries over to one of the more rocking, punk-ish tracks, “Too Many Tomorrows (Fair Warning).” Softer and more emotional, “Ringfinger” is the tender track here, softly flowing, and the vocals are able to go from raw to tender as well. The eight-minute “Only if You Wanted Me To” runs the gambit from soft and melodic to driving and powerful, and it showcases the band’s fluidity well. The album ends with the instrumental “Highway Miles” that, frankly, sounds like the music to several of the band’s other songs and really doesn’t need to be tacked on alone here. The previous track would have been a better closer, except for the nice, quiet guitar that finishes up “Highway Miles.”
I said that many of you likely love this sound, and you will thus enjoy Kid Brother Collective. But just as many others are tired of bands that do this style of driving, emotional rock. You’re looking for bands to put a new twist on it, like Camden or Pinback, instead of taking the best moments from Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral. And I have to admit, these songs will sound familiar on your first listen. That only takes away a little from Highway Miles, however, and it’s hard to overlook how passionate and talented this band is.