Band: Brother Spellbinder; Alzara Getz: vocals and ukulele; Jamie Wilson: acoustic guitar and vocals; Steve La Porta: drums, percussion and timpini; Sean Griffin: electric guitar and acoustic guitar; Helena Tietze: cello and vocals; Gabriel Beistline: cello; Zoe Atlas: violin and vocals; and Steve Bollhoeffer: violin
EP: ‘We Were Children Yesterday;’ mixing and co-production by Oz Fritz at Prairie Sun and High Velocity; mastered by Michael Romanowski at Coast Mastering
Embracing an earlier time of wonder and possibility, while also learning to accept the gradual loss of innocence as time passes, is a powerful emotional journey that everyone must take throughout their lives. The eight-member, inter-generational folk band, Brother Spellbinder, is truly embracing that rite of passage in its newly unveiled digital release, ‘We Were Children Yesterday.’
The Bay Area group’s chamber-pop-alternative EP echoes its title throughout its seven entries, as lead singer Alzara Getz grippingly croons about metamorphosis and healing. The musician, who also works as a social worker and therapist, has a deep interest in how people overcome obstacles, create new meaning and ultimately rekindle a love for the mystery of life.
Getz’s vocals, which tie the songs together with an emotional fluidity and feminine charisma, are supported by occasional notes of toughness from rhythm guitarist Jamie Wilson and smoothness from cellist Helena Tietze. ‘We Were Children Yesterday’ is a unique, eclectic collection that relies on melodic cello tones, delicate violins, emotional ukulele, passionate acoustic and electric lead guitar, and sentimental rhythms.
Brother Spellbinder’s latest album begins with the enticing track, ‘Birds of a Feather,’ which is driven by an enticing blend of folk guitar and orchestral violin. The intriguing introduction to the band’s EP reflects on how people should embrace others, especially those they love, as everyone’s driven by needing emotional support. Once people learn how to overcome their differences, they can live together in harmony.
The soulful initial tune is followed by ‘We Were Children Yesterday’s sophomore entry, ‘Mandalay.’ While the song clocks in at just over a minute-and-a-half, Getz and her bandmates crafted a powerfully gripping exploration into how people choose to lead their lives. Driven by sentimental guitar strumming, the track reflects on life’s journey, and what people must do in order to survive.
‘Mandalay’ is succeeded by one of the EP’s singles, ‘Aching Eyes,’ which is driven by a seductive blend of country-infused acoustic guitar, violin and ukulele. The captivating instrumentation supports the all-consuming emotions in Getz’s voice, as she notes that she follow the person she loves with the title aching eyes. The singer has shared that she wrote the tune about the impending sense of doom she had when one of her romantic relationships was ending. But she eventually realized that she was able to get pas the pain, as she’s survived breakups before. Listeners can surely relate to her also questioning where her life will lead her after the end of the relationship, as she ultimately knows that they’re not meant to be with each other.
Brother Spellbinder’s latest album begins to wind down with its uptempo penultimate entry, ‘Red River Valley,’ which features a reflective and contemplative blend of acoustic guitars and violins. Getz croons about how she and her community will miss the person who’s leaving the title valley. In order to preserve the love and memory of their relationship, she asks that person to sit by her side. Supported by soulful backing vocals by Helena Tietze and Zoe Atlas, the sentimental song has the potential to provide a powerful live performance.
‘We Were Children Yesterday’ stunningly ends with its last song, ’20 Years Ago,’ which features Dale Carlson on the pennywhistle, Carme Caruso on the organ and backing vocals, Josh Beemish on the banjo and back vocals, and Jared Swanson on backing vocals. The powerful closing track follows Getz and her fellow singers as they croon that they knew where they were going in life before they got lost along the way. Getz reveals through soulful vocals that she’s always driven to roam through life, even when she’s romantically involved with someone who expresses interest in her. But in the end, her heart is still left broken, and she’ll linger in her darkest hour, as her passion has turned cold.
Embracing an earlier time of wonder and possibility, while also learning to accept the gradual loss of innocence as time passes, is a powerful emotional journey that everyone must take throughout their lives. Brother Spellbinder is truly embracing that rite of passage throughout the seven tunes that are featured on ‘We Were Children Yesterday,’ as the folk EP passionately contemplates metamorphosis and healing. The well crafted songs, which are driven by old world ache and modern angst, reflects on how people should embrace everyone, because once people learn how to overcome their differences, they can live together in harmony.