Local Review: The Brobecks – Understanding The Brobecks

Local Music Reviews

The Brobecks (Whisperhawk remaster)
Understanding The Brobecks
Street: 04.04
The Brobecks (Whisperhawk remaster) = The B-52s + Two Door Cinema Club

Discovering the cult classic The Brobecks is, in my humble Contributing Writer opinion, a rite of passage for any burgeoning emo (please don’t come after me for the word choice) Utah teen. Though I was born a mere Zoomer and late to The Brobecks’ game, I remember it like it was yesterday, hearing a 10-second clip of squeaky lil’ baby Dallon Weekes belting out lyrics I would soon learn to be “Better Than Me” from the band’s 2009 album Violent Things. By then, it was 2014 and Weekes was on to bigger—and ultimately better—things like touring with Panic! At The Disco and forming his solo project IDKHOW (which would eventually lead to me disrupting stan Twitter over a certain word in a now-deleted SLUG tweet, my bad). 

In honor of Understanding The Brobecks turning 20 this year, Michael Gross, currently known as local darling Whisperhawk, personally remastered and re-released seven of the songs he wrote and lent his vocals to, on the album for our listening pleasure. Let me tell you right now,  this is one hell of a treat. Before you purists (which I normally tend to fall in line with) come at me, have a little listening party and tell me the remaster wasn’t warranted. I dare you. This is just what the themes Gross and company were trying to convey to us needed all those years ago. It feels like I’m fourteen again and discovering (or should I say understanding?) The Brobecks all over, just now in 4K. 

The remaster consists of seven tracks out of the album’s original 12. The stand out during my initial listen? “Creep You Out.”Am I biased because I love cross-dressing men and it was a teen Yonni favorite? Most definitely, though the remaster does make the song’s production stand out and shine like it was always meant to. The haunting melodica harmonizing with that acoustic guitar strumming scratches something just right in my tiny, smooth brain. “Bad reception everywhere I go / Misconceptions round my back door,” Gross whines as he addresses the ongoing theme of presenting one way yet feeling another. This theme can also be found on the lamenting track “Cowboy Song,” which is also present on this remaster, with lyrics like, “I hide behind these clothes / No one knows at all” and “It used to be okay but it’s getting worse / It used to be okay”. 

Tracks like “John Barnes” and “Downtown” also heavily benefited production-wise from Gross’ zhuzhing. Basslines and drum solos sound crisper and cleaner and make me appreciate them for more than just their relatable “emo” lyrics—ones that I most definitely reposted on Tumblr back in its heyday.

Now, not to soapbox preach at you, but The Brobecks were more than just a claim to fame for Utah. They were an example of what made being young fun while living in Mormonville, USA during the early 2000’s: good and pure local music that didn’t suck. It makes me yearn for a time I was too young to participate in, a time and a culture that almost seems lost. A time where what else was there to do other than get your friends together and express yourselves through whatever art you were making at the time. If you were good, you played shows in basements for your friends who then felt heard and seen through your art and shared it with their other friends. It’s what music (and most art in general) was made for. The Brobecks started out as a weekend hobby for young Weekes, Gross and Matt Glass, and they took it further than even they were probably expecting. It was like lightning in a bottle—something greedy capitalist labels and TikTok could never do. 

All that being said, do yourself a favor and take yourself on a trip down memory lane. Hell, maybe even burn it onto a CD and drive around listening to it in your old beat up 2002 Honda Civic if you’re really feeling a nostalgia craving. Regardless of how, give the remaster of, Understanding The Brobecks a listen and relish of your time (if you were conscious for it) back in the days of physical media and physical basement shows. You won’t be disappointed. –Yonni Uribe

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