Providence, Rhode Island's The Brother Kite began crafting their shoegaze-inflected rock sound in 2001, when founding members Patrick Boutwell and Jon Downs began writing and recording original material as a duo. Bassist Andrea Mason and guitarist Mark Howard joined them in 2002, and the band released a split 7" record with friends Vaguely Starshaped on Boston's Losing Blueprint Records in 2003. The Brother Kite then released their first full length album on Clairecords, thebrotherkite (2004), a self-titled and self-recorded serving of layered guitars and buoyant melodies. Their ambitious debut earned them nationwide attention from critics and music fans alike. They soon enlisted Matt Rozzero as full-time drummer, and relentlessly toured the east coast, gaining new fans at every show and further refining their unique sound. The band then constructed their Beaten Path studio in Mason, New Hampshire and recorded their second LP for Clairecords, Waiting For The Time To Be Right (2006). With Waiting..., the band dialed back the "shoegaze" element of their first album, and explored Brian Wilson-esque harmonies and refined classic pop structures. The album greatly widened their fan base, garnered a bevy of critical acclaim, and was considered by many to be one of the finest records that year. This was followed by two more releases for Clairecords, 2007's Moonlit Race EP and 2008's spit 7" with Boston band Plumerai.Having two sonically distinct full-length records under their belt, they were determined to create something as ambitious as their previous efforts, yet completely unique from them. They returned in the spring of 2008 to Beaten Path in Mason and set to work on what would ultimately become their third full-length record, Isolation. Initially challenged with finding material that was suitably different in scope than Waiting... yet familiar enough to please their fans, they began deconstructing their signature dense wall-of-sound into contrasting textures, while adding new instrumentation in the form of synthesizers and sparse drum machine tracks. After a year of recording, they enlisted engineer/producer (and self-professed huge TBK fan) Thom Monahan (Pernice Bros, The Broken West, Matt Pond PA, J. Mascis and The Fog) to mix the album at The Hangar in Sacramento, CA.What results is an album that, while recorded in a similar fashion to its predecessor, could not be more different. Where Waiting For The Time To Be Right was built on thick layers of Wurlitzer organ and droning guitars, warmly undercut by silky vocal harmonies sometimes heard, other times only hinted at, Isolation strips The Brother Kite's sound down into individual elements, allowing each reverberated guitar pluck, tambourine clash and warbling synth line to stand on its own. Throughout Isolation, TBK blends various elements ranging from atmospheric power-pop, to experimental synth rock, extending well beyond the band's earlier Beach Boys meets My Bloody Valentine leanings. It is surely one of the year's most ambitious rock records, and one that deserves all the attention that The Brother Kite has so lovingly put into creating it.
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