The McCauliffe Brothers Band: It’s Likely (2009)

Bio (excerpted from mcbrosmusic.com/biography/):
Daily sessions are the best way to tighten one’s music and expand upon the songs of last year. The McCauliffe Brothers Band is a product of two brothers, Chris (guitar, vocals) and Mike McCauliffe (bass, backing vocals) developing their rock/funk songs over the years. Since 2004, the brothers have been showcasing their original music at venues throughout North Carolina, while performing with a variety of drummers.  The McCauliffe Brothers Band released their debut album, It’s Likely online in 2010 and for physical distribution in 2011. This album captures the heart and soul of what the band became after endless late night rehearsals and shows with drummer Lehman Best, who eventually parted with the band upon his move to Indiana. It’s Likely brings rock, groove, and pop together with instrumental peaks that drive the choruses home.  With a balanced combination of rock, funk, jazz, improvisation and pop, the McCauliffe Brothers Band captivates the audience’s attention with their dynamics, catchy lyrics, uplifting melodies as well as surprise changes and transitions. Their live shows give the fans extra instrumental peaks, heavy hypnotic dance grooves, teases of cover songs, and often times special guest musicians

Musicians:
Chris McCauliffe (Guitar, Vocals), Mike McCauliffe (Bass, Backing Vocals), Lehman Best (Drums)

It was really hard for me to find a starting point on this review.  Try as I might, I just can’t really think of a good comparison for The McCauliffe Brothers Band.  They remind me a little bit of Incubus, but it’s hard to pin that comparison down; they remind me a bit of early Incubus (Fungus Amongus era) mixed with much later Incubus where the band has become much more radio friendly pop rock.  But yet, The McCauliffe Brothers Band doesn’t REALLY sound that much like Incubus.  They have a 70’s funk rock feeling, but not exactly.  They have a modern rock / pop feeling, but not exactly.  They’ve got some jam band in their DNA, but not exactly.  They are just tough to describe, which is good; if I can’t really compare them to anything then that means that The McCauliffe Brothers Band are doing their own thing, as hard as it may be to describe.

The McCauliffe Brothers Band: Chris McCauliffe, Lehman Best, Mike McCauliffe

IT’S LIKELY is a very easy to like record.  It has the funk backbone (which I love as a fan of many a funky band, and many a funk-influenced band, from Parliament to Snot) the drives their grooves, but it’s not overly funky to the point to turn away non-fans of the genre.  It has a decent amount of rock to it, and at points really throws down some heavy riffs and wicked guitar work, but it never gets so heavy as to discourage those people that don’t like the heavier stuff.  Amazingly, while incorporating the funk and the rock, the main basis of IL is very pop-rock centric.  Easy to like and catchy riffs, mild and non-offensive lyrics, and easily accessible vocal delivery makes IL a good contender for bigger success. Lyrically, IL was kind of middle-of-the-road for me; there is nothing bad about the lyrics, but there’s not a whole lot that impressed me either and made me take notice.  The driving force for IL is the music.

Chris rocking out on a stage that is either a. dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day or b. just really wants to reaffirm that the McCauliffe brothers are Irish.

The production quality on IL is great; some low-budget music I get is hindered by the lack of good quality recordings, but that is not an issue at all for IL.  The record sounds professionally produced, the levels are good, and there are never any issues with not being able to hear or understand the lyrics.  My only real issue with the production, and it is pretty minor overall, is that there could be more done to make the sound of IL fuller; by that I mean there could be more layers to the sound.  I know The McCauliffe Brothers Band is a three-piece, but that does not have to limit a bands sound in the studio.  Overdubs, background sounds, layers, effects: these can all add to the sound of the record and give some extra weight to the recording, and I didn’t hear much of that being used on IL. Some bands choose to only record what they can play live, and that is a stylistic choice of the band, but for me I prefer something I can sink my teeth into, at least on the record.  The difference in sound can easily be made up live through great performances that engage the audience.

Mike, showing off his funk roots with a Maggot Brain shirt.

Overall, IL has a lot going for it.  It is a record that is going to be easily accessible by a large group of people.  Fans of funk should like it, fans of jam bands should like it, and modern radio rock/pop fans will also take an interest.  IL is an easy listen, and would make good music for a Saturday afternoon on the back porch with a beer, or for a house party you don’t want to get too out of control.  The McCauliffe Brothers Band has a lot going for them, for me though they just don’t push it far enough.  They aren’t funky enough for my tastes, they aren’t rock enough for my tastes, they are too poppy for my tastes; they do what they do and they do it very well, but what they do just isn’t my favorite thing in the world.  There are a lot of people that are going to love IL; there is no doubt in my mind.  For me it had its moments of greatness, but overall was just a little short of what it could have been.

Overall 6.5 / 10

IL for sale: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Likely/dp/B006Z01LQG/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1326989667&sr=1-2

IL site: http://www.mcbrosmusic.com/

The McCauliffe Brothers Band: It’s Likely

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