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The Webb Brothers

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Album Review

The third album from the brothers Webb sees the duo becoming a trio with the addition of youngest brother James Webb and languishing in the same dreamy pop realm they've inhabited in the past. Although they dallied in roots rock in the past, this self-titled album worships sun-drenched Californian beachscapes and bounces along to pop vibes straight out of the mid-'70s. A huge debt seems to be owed to inspirations including Elliott Smith, Joe Pernice, Big Star, Randy Newman, and, on "A Funny Ol' Kind of Music" and "Ms. Moriarty," the synths and sampler-based sound of New Order. For better or worse, the album has two identities. Through its first seven tracks, there's a lively mix of alt-country undertones, Spanish guitar, Brit-pop and chamber pop arrangements, and lively basement-style experimentation. With "The Chill," the brothers take a turn into chillout territory, where hazy atmospherics and mood rule over melody. Indeed, the final six tracks sound like they're the work of an entirely different band. It's likely that The Webb Brothers would seem more cohesive as a vinyl release than it does on CD; flipping over the record for its introspective second half rather than moving right from a pop-heavy first half might make all the difference. Even with its dual identity and broad musical range, The Webb Brothers throbs and sways with stylish aplomb, offering equal doses of pop nirvana and swirling melancholia.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Justin Webb (vocals/guitars) and Christiaan Webb (vocals/keyboards) are the sons of legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb. After first attending Boston University, they later shared a one-room studio in their adopted hometown of Chicago, IL, and soon were playing local rock clubs and dives in the Windy City. By the summer of 1998, they felt they had gone as far as they could and began concentrating their efforts on writing and recording an album's worth of demos in the group's rehearsal space in order...
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The Webb Brothers, The Webb Brothers
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