Sons Of An Illustrious Father is the perfect example of a band you either get or you don’t. Their music is so rooted in emotion and guts and profound truths that if you don’t connect with it immediately, you probably won’t even after a million attempts (though I suggest trying at least that many times). The vocals are often gut-wrenching and the words they sing are so sincere that it’s hard to imagine someone not falling love with everyone in the group, but I guess anything is possible. “No Mercy” and “Loveletting” has been in the works for a long time. Long enough that I started to wonder if the whispers out of Brooklyn weren’t just urban legends. The first time I heard about the new single was before the band made their last stop in Chicago back in July. Now that it’s finally here I can say, without question, that it was worth the wait.
The trio of Lilah Larson, Josh Aubin, and Ezra Miller have delivered a great double A-side single that sparkles with the promise displayed on their previous releases. Their 2011 album One Body was my number one of the year, and I’m already thinking of calling it a day and naming “Loveletting” the best song of 2014. It’s built on the foundation of Aubin’s organ, but the star is the passionate way Miller brings every word to life. The slow build from subtlety to rage in his voice is a thing of beauty, and his grunting bellow on the line “We’re all just trying to be worthy of each other’s love” is out of this world.
Larson takes the lead on “No Mercy,” and there’s little I can say about her voice that I haven’t said before. It’s a miraculous balance between strength and vulnerability, hope and desperation. Her guitar work here is a bit bigger and louder than anything previous. She shreds through a slightly psych-rockish solo backed up by Aubin on keys and some great percussion work from Miller.
If you dig these two songs, I highly suggest going back through their three prior releases. I just listened to One Body again while writing this piece, and it is still as great as the first time I heard it. You can check Sons out live if you live in the greater NYC area over the next month-they’re doing a residency at a venue called Baby’s All Right the next two Mondays (Jan 13 and 20), as well as a show at Red Hook Bait & Tackle on the 25th. With any luck these songs are just the beginning of a great year.