Sibling rivalry usually starts at an early age. For some siblings, it lasts the rest of their lives. Others simply grow apart due to lives taking each one to a different place, both physically and figuratively. It just happens that some families grow apart. For Brad and Jessica Lauretti, none of these were the case.
The duo have come together to form This Frontier Needs Heroes. Brad has always been a musician while Jessica was an experimental film maker. When Brad’s last band broke up, he decided to take a new approach to music. Teaming up with Jessica, who taught herself to play some instruments, Brad finally found his new sound. This Frontier Needs Heroes is pretty much a folk rock/indie rock act.
Brad’s vocals remind me of Bob Dylan in that he’s not the best of singers. At times his voice proves to be not enough to accomplish what he tries to musically. At other times, it sounds just whiny. On the track “Firefly”, he does all right through most of the song until he tries to hit the high notes. When this happens, he sounds bad and distracts the listener from an otherwise very good song.
Backing him up on vocals is Jessica. Unfortunately, most of the time the two sing together Jessica is heavily overshadowed by Brad. At times its difficult to hear her singing over Brad as on “Leopard Eyes”. When the two can be heard together, Jessica does her part very well. On “Bend the Bow”, she really lifts Brad’s vocals and helps to hide is unpolished voice.
Just about all the songs on the album sound like country songs they wrote while camping out in the wilderness on a trip cross-country. Or even yet, think of those Western flicks where a cowboy is sitting at a fire just strumming on his guitar.
Two of the brighter tracks on the album bring to mind more specific folk acts. “You Humble Me” is a country waltz in the style of Willie Nelson. The acoustic guitar starts in with nice, warm sounds. It is then accompanied by a banjo slowly being plucked, and a violin mirroring the warm guitar sounds. Throw in a tambourine for some percussion and you can just picture a waltz-like line dance ensuing.
Neil Young comes to the forefront of the mind when listening to “No More War”. Brad sounds a bit like Young when he sings. But what really bears the comparison and makes the song so good is the electric guitar that kicks in. It seems to play through as though it were playing a lengthy freestyle solo in a jam band. It mirrors the words of the song and creates a relaxing mood. It truly reinforces the message of the song, not fighting anymore.
As a whole, the album is rather soft spoken and slow paced. It serves to relax the listener especially when you really just listen to the album. I was ready for a nap by the time I finished it. That doesn’t mean it was bad. Quite the opposite, it was good. Talented as they are as musicians, it is still the vocals that hold the group back. As a folk act, Brad is well suited to sing. But to really get the attention of the masses he’d do well to polish up his voice. I’m not going to write off This Frontier Needs Heroes as I was pretty surprised with what I heard. I’m just not sure that in this fast paced world we live in many people will give them the second listen they deserve.