The Brothers Kaschak (Sean Kaschak & Mark Kaschak) debut last year showed potential with their release Marching On. I’m happy to report that the duo tapped into their talent with their most recent album entitled The Ark & The Amateur.
The Ark & The Amateur was made possible through a kickstarter campaign and was recorded and mixed at a professional studio and then properly mastered. In all honesty there is not much comparison between their first recording and what you have on this album. They have upped the ante and these songs have gotten the treatment they deserve. That being said, we all know a polished album is only one aspect of the package. The music itself is still the most important thing and the duo doesn’t let us down in that department either.
The Brothers Kaschak brings us eleven songs that blend folk/rock and a bit of blues. Some songs are sparse with no more than an acoustic guitar and vocals while others are more fleshed out with distorted guitars, bass and drums. Either way the band keeps it pretty simple and doesn’t add any unnecessary decoration.
In my opinion the strongest songs were the acoustic based folk tracks. One of the highlights was “Grandfather Clock,” which starts out with some sweet pickin on the guitar. I wanted it to last longer before they started strumming chords and adding bass but either way it works. The song is covered in warmth and is a danceable knee slapper that would sound best being played at dusk with your favorite whiskey.
The duo also sounds good when their songs are covered in melancholy. Take for instance “Colors That’ll Kill You,” which contains one of the catchiest and well delivered vocal performances. Another highlight was the eight-plus minute “My Feet.” I thought the song structure was inventive. The song rocks out pretty hard and fast for about the first two minutes, then has a brief lull before rocking out again but the second half is purely acoustic guitar and vocals. The other notable songs were “You & Me & The Moon” and “Shoulders.”
The album isn’t flawless - there were a couple songs that didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Overall, The Brothers Kaschak made a good album with a majority of the songs delivering upon the potential that was present in their previous effort.
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