Supergroup my ass. That term generally signifies bland half-baked jams (Superheavy, Them Crooked Vultures), main group throwaways (Golden Smog, Monsters of Folk), intriguing novelty (The Baseball Project, Tinted Windows) or sheer wretchedness (Chickenfoot). Middle Brother brings their A game and top flight songs.
Middle Brother brings together three songwriters (Deer Tick's John McCauley, Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and Delta Spirit's Matthew Vasquez) whose main bands have yet to rise above club status. They cherry pick the best attributes from each band and reign in their excesses. While Vasquez (the Crazy Horse inspired "Blue Eyes", the irresistible 50's pastiche "Someday") and Goldsmith ("Thanks for Nothing" and "Wilderness") shine, it's McCauley's rumpled stumblebum who dazzles. The theme is pie-eyed lovable losers, and the only cover, a suitably shaggy run through The Replacements' rarity "
manages the neat trick of saluting patron saint Paul Westerberg and eclipsing his
But the stunner, and the best song on the year's best album, is "Daydreaming", whose chord progressions hint that this is the kid from Big Star's "Thirteen", a few years older, still lovesick and longing, looking for someone to "be an outlaw for my love". Simply gorgeous.