Hymns is the latest in many manifestations of a band that has outlasted puberty, driving school and college seminars.
Ever since meeting in the fourth grade, Brian Harding and Jason Roberts have been playing and writing music together. As the two musicians grew (both physically and musically), they often collaborated on ideas, helping each other to learn how to create music and experiment with different sounds. Since then, their group has become a more mature demonstration of their talents. This development, however, did not come without struggles — Hymns’ members have shifted more times than Destiny’s Child. Now, on tour opening for Ben Kweller, the band consists of Tony Kent (drums), Jeremy Kay (bass) and the two original members, Brian Harding (vocals, lyrics, guitar) and Jason Roberts (guitar and Wurlitzer, a type of electric keyboard from the 60s and 70s).
As Hymns has experienced many changes and turmoil within the group, they are still a new and developing band. This is very evident in their first album, “Brother/Sister,” which presents itself as a varying conglomeration of many different kinds of music. While the album seems to lack direction, it explores a variety of genres and relies heavily on influences that range from Neil Young to Spoon.
For instance, the first track of their album, a traditional rock song with simple lyrics entitled “Magazines,” is heavy with their trademark country twang. However, the second song, title track “Brother/Sister,” lacks any hint of country sound, and is much simpler in its construct. Even still, the following track is “Friend of Mine,” a mellow, folksy song that examines for the first time a different beat, lyrical style and vocal range. The variation continues throughout the entire album, from the quietly emotional ballad “Scenery Glow” to the bluesy, yet original “Town.” Although these songs all carry trademarks of the band, few share the same style.
In a recent interview with the Hatchet, Roberts explained the album’s sound, stating that “half of [the songs] are really country-rock.we’re trying to keep the whole down-home, old school rock kind of feel”.
Hymns spent the two months it took to record “Brother/Sister” living in an apartment over a recording studio in Texas. Harding, the band’s singer, is responsible for the lyrics and melody of the songs, while Roberts primarily arranges the music. Each member adds their own influence, commenting “it should sound like this” until they feel the song is complete. “For some reason people get so excited about music”, Roberts said. “There’s something about music that’s so fun.and it’s so crazy to think you can actually make a living off of it.people like [Harding], I don’t think he can even help it, he writes a song almost every day”.
As for the future of Hymns, their sound is constantly changing and developing. “When we were in high school and college.our sound was spacier.over the course of the past two years [Harding] wanted no more sound effects, just real rock and roll.[he] is trying to keep everything more natural by taking out computer effects.[Harding] has so many different ideas of how it’s supposed to sound.”
Hymns will be opening for Ben Kweller at the 9:30 club on Wednesday, October 18 at 7 p.m.