This is clearly an intelligent group. The CDs are packaged like concept pieces, and the lyrics are poetic and image laden: "She was long like a Union rifle / She was cold like a motel Bible," or "Down in the dirt where the suits grow weeds / Flowers won't grow and your bones don't need no skin." I'm especially partial to "Vintage Schwinn Enthusiast" — "Single speed, that's all you really need" — which taps into my own feelings about my blue 1969 Slik Chik with handlebar streamers. "Beautiful Night" is nothing short of amazing at its climax, with jazz trumpet and bottle rockets. The quiet simplicity of the title track, with only the Monger brothers playing acoustic guitar and Tim singing, suggests the niche of accomplishment they could have found in traditional folk.
Intellectual art is painfully rare in the bar band scene. The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love (great name for a band) make you feel as if you can learn something from them. But too much thinking can get in the way of deep feeling. They clearly still have room to grow.
The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love are at Leopold Bros. on Wednesday, April 16.
[Originally published in April, 2003.]