The Blood Brothers

By Adam Gnade

Bathing with a boombox

by Adam Gnade

Witness the sound of a band bumrushed by killer bees. On stage, Blood Brothers singers Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney trade off screamy vocals with all the passion, intensity and screwy frustration of a two-headed hydra attack. Music-wise, the rest of the group skronks through shifty, split-second changes, cruelly banged piano breakdowns and guitars that spazz out with weapons-grade metal riffs and white-hot feedback squalls.

It's artsy. But unlike a lot of art rock bands that value big statements over bold action, this kind of "artsy" wants to bust a water-balloon of gasoline on your head, flick a match in your face and set you ablaze.

Accordingly, the genesis of the Seattle band rose out of dissatisfaction.

"When we first started the band, I listened to a lot of hardcore music and the one thing that drove me nuts about it was I thought the lyrics just sucked," says Whitney. "I wanted to do something that was a little bit easier to... see."

So, on the first Blood Brothers LP, This Adultery is Ripe, Whitney and Blilie put their new ideas into practice-piling articulate, surrealist imagery onto blast beats and punk guitars.

"This Adultery is Ripe was kind of an experiment," says Whitney. "I wanted the lyrics to be totally fucked up in a way that you could be watching it, but I shy away from that record now because it's kind of meaningless to me. In a sense, that's all it was: this face-value, shock-value kind of thing."

The band's first release on the ARTISTdirect label, Burn Piano Island, Burn is the next logical step from their last LP, Three One G's gruesome punk-operetta, March on Electric Children.

Where their previous stuff teetered on schizophrenia, Burn is all-out certifiable, going from jackhammering hardcore to disco-funk licks which devolve into sexy, mumbling grooves where Blilie and Whitney get off the bullet-train for a second and actually sing-Whitney in bitchy yowls and Blilie like a husky "China Girl"-era Bowie.

From the looks of Burn the Blood Brothers are going to be huge. But will the kids still be down with them when they're snorting lines with Marilyn Manson and screwing the Hilton sisters?

"I hope so," says Whitney, clearing his throat, not a trace of irony in his voice. "There's two ways you can look at bands like us becoming big. You can either look at it from the point of view where you go, "˜Aw, fuck! All the kids that go to malls are going to start listening to fuckin' bands that I like! That sucks!'

"Or you can look at it like, "˜Well, it's cool that bands that actually have artistic integrity are becoming popular.' I would rather have people that I meet at high school or at the mall listen to bands like us than music that's shitty."