THE DEAL: Local sextet delivers an all-together-now debut.
THE GOOD: An album-long ovation to togetherness should really be broadcast to the world in unison — an idea Yardwork emphatically stands behind over these nine anthemic tracks. "We're marching in this line together/single file won't do," the multitudes sing to the martial beat of "Eddie San," emphasizing the Taoist-flavored, one-drop-in-an-ocean LP-long mindset. Brotherer's songs celebrate friendships, kinship, relationships and, implicit at the top of the list, musical camaraderie. The band members, refugees from various local punk and noise acts, channel punk rock's us-against-them fury into one-for-all tribalism, forging noise into melody and joyful anthems along the way (Akron/Family is one relevant reference point). Tracks like the thrumming opener "Kiethiopia" (sic) and jaunty cautionary tale "Son of Pomegranate" double guitars and drums as they build raucous themes offset with delicate moments of over-lapping guitar lines — imagine Tom Verlaine drinking from the gourd of African Highlife. The bass drum-happy percussion then hammers those filaments into holler-along chorus-crescendos splashed with horns, all of it trumpeting redemption and better times ahead. The whole beautiful mess is wildly invigorating.
THE BAD: Yardwork songs can get a little crowded. Most of the time that's the point, but the occasional glock and what might be melodica (?) vanish in the tumult. And though brevity is not an issue here — 30 minutes of this much energy provides just-the-right kind of exhaustion — you do wonder what else is in the tank, given that three of these tracks were released on the band's 2009 EP and re-recorded for Brotherer. We can only hope a lot more.
THE VERDICT: One of the better records to come out of Charlotte in eons.