We’re nothing if not adventurous at the Guardian. That’s why we’re here at the British Music Embassy showcase watching British band Brother play a form of British music that was popular about 15 years ago. In Britain. If there are any pie’n’mash shops or morris dancing classes in Austin, do let us know.
So Brother, then – four lads from Slough who think their Oasis-inspired boasts, Oasis-inspired music and, er, Oasis-inspired swagger mark them out as the future of music. Austin’s Latitude 30 doesn’t entirely disagree with this – they’re not beating them away at the door but the venue is modestly full.
“You made the right decision,” singer Lee Newell tells us as his band – complete with Rowetta-style “soul” voice – crank up the volume and run through Still Here, Darling Buds Of May and New Years Day. Each track is interspersed with some mild laddy “banter” but it fails to catch fire. “I had a Newcastle Brown Ale the other day that was better than the ones I’ve had in Newcastle” is a quote that ensures Austin’s stand up comedy community can sleep easily tonight.
“We’re from a beautiful place. It’s called Slough,” says Newell at one point, before explaining: “That’s irony. How about that?” Whereas on paper the temptation is to hate Brother, in person the sneaking suspicion is that these lads might just be a little bit too nice for all this “tonight, I’m a rock’n’roll star” behaviour.
Musically speaking, Brother may aim to emulate the Gallaghers but the tunes sound - to these ears - more like Mansun (strictly melodically speaking of course - there are no 70 minute prog operas about Dr Who, gender identity and cancer here). But then nobody at SXSW is here expecting to catch the next developments in Witch House. They’re here to listen to loud’n’lumpen British Rock with some anthemic shoutalong bits thrown in. Within that rather limited context, it would be hard to argue that Brother had failed to deliver.