Starting as a two-man studio project in a spare bedroom in New Hampshire in 2002, Jon Downs and Patrick Boutwell set out to do nothing more ambitious than record a batch of noisy, heart-felt rock songs they had been kicking around while playing in other bands. Their fuzzy 8-track cassette demo pressed to CD garnered some positive reviews from people besides their parents, so forming a legitimate band seemed like the logical thing to do.Enlisting Andrea Mason (now Andrea Downs) on bass guitar and Mark Howard on 3rd guitar, they released their first official album, the run-on self-titled thebrotherkite on Clairecords in 2004 with Pat playing drums. Markís friend Matt Rozzero joined as full-time drummer soon after, and The Brother Kite played extensively in support of the album. The self-produced debut showcased Boutwellís Brian Wilson-inspired vocals set to a backdrop of densely layered guitars, a sound that immediately defined The Brother Kiteís signature sound. Often put in the shoegaze camp, the bandís penchant for striking melodies and finely orchestrated arrangements set them clearly apart from some of their dronier counterparts.Wanting to improve on the sound of their debut, the band built a studio in the loft of Jonís fatherís auto body shop, releasing their follow-up Waiting for the Time to be Right in late 2006. Although similarly dense and sprawling, the expansive and ambitious WFTTTBR pulled The Brother Kite further from shoegaze, blending their triple-guitar wall of sound with Spector-inquired electric organ and layered vocal harmonies. The sophomore effort garnered critical praise, including a 7.2 on Pitchfork, and was followed by the bandís most extensive touring period. The successful album was followed in 2007 by the Moonlit Race EP, a collection of singles and outtakes from Waiting.Taking time off from touring, TBK returned to the studio and began piecing together what was to become 2010ís Isolation. Isolation was also recorded in the bandís home-made studio, but took a deconstructed approach, far more sparse than the bandís previous albums. The cleaner sound brought Boutwellís heartfelt lyrics to the forefront, silhouetted by baroque synthesizers, Jon and Markís chiming guitars, and an ultra-tight rhythm section of Matt and Andrea. Instead of going on tour the band chose to play more in and around their hometown of Providence to further build on their already avid local fanbase. The only major exception was a trip to play SXSW in 2011, their 3rd appearance at the festival.After then self-releasing a 7Ē single (Aching Heart, Clear Conscience, 2010), and a collection of Isolation b-sides (Eye To Eye EP, 2011), The Brother Kite looked at where they had been. Much of the bandís sound had developed from extensive overdubs, building thick, layered soundscapes in the studio. With their next record they sought to capture of how The Brother Kite sounded as a live band. The product, recorded in the bandís new Providence mill space studio, is the punchy and energetic fourth album, Model Rocket, featuring songs performed mainly during their post-Isolation Northeast area shows.In many ways, Model Rocket is a stark departure from the bandís previous records - gone are the heady song structures, choirs of overdubbed voices, and thickly reverberated instrumentation. Yet what remains is equally as endearing, never abandoning what makes TBK a great rock band: buoyant melodies composed of heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics, careening over driving bass and drums, and fueled by their signature guitar sound. Like the miniature aircraft that inspired its name, Model Rocket is at once exciting and familiar, a bold new step for a band that has never been satisfied to play it safe.
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