One of the big questions facing any band that calls it quits is whether the magic can be recreated elsewhere. Berkshire’s Hindsights left an indelible imprint on the shape and heart of the UK’s underground thanks to some powerful and emotive songs and a visceral and charged live show.
Yet there are no guarantees. For every Iron Chic, there’s a Zwan, meaning there’s more to success than relying on a cult of personality and tapping into an existing fanbase.
Sibling’s ‘Miserable Love’ therefore represents a smart move by Benio Baumgart, recalling just enough of what made Hindsights so exciting – the raw emotion and the powerful vocals – and repackaging it with a shiny new sound.
Lead single ‘Silver’ is a glorious pop-rock number, teeming with hooks and an effortlessly breezy melody that will have you humming along instantly. Baumgart’s lyrics are still downbeat, riddled with neurosis and paranoia, but there’s a renewed sense of optimism to go with the shiny new sound; a flash of light that is sympathetic to the shimmering guitars.
‘Circles’ is similarly perky, combining stabbing post-punk guitars and moody post-rock atmospherics that continues to point towards a new direction for Baumgart and conspirators Lewis Pickering and Sam Correa. Elsewhere, the title track recalls latter-day Brandtson, leaning on a definite Deep Elm feeling throughout its sparse and loose arrangement. It’s perhaps the most downcast song on offer, with Baumgart pleading “We are miserable in love”, yet it never feels melodramatic or overwrought.
Closing track ‘Sick Of Me’ gets things back onto an even keel, melding Baumgart’s pensive lyrics with yet another up-tempo gem. It’s probably the strongest of the four songs on offer, blessed with a triumphantly infectious chorus that’s pulled straight from the top drawer.
It all means ‘Miserable Love’ is a purposeful and exciting debut, characterised by Baumgart’s unmistakable vocals and some clever songwriting by the trio. Could it be magic? At this point you wouldn’t bet against it…
’Miserable Love’ EP by Sibling is released on November 30th on Little Rocket Records.
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Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)