Calla Lily, the sophomore album from The Brother Brothers, opens with a song that expresses what is undoubtedly a shared sentiment amongst musicians at this point. “On the Road Again” captures that unmistakable itch to get back to touring life, to some kind of norm. Though it was written before the pandemic, it speaks to the collective desire to be stuffed into rooms together, communing to the sweet sounds of a band of like The Brother Brothers.
The warm harmonies and silky melodies of identical twins David and Adam Moss evoke the kind of ’60s-era folk tunes that reverberated through dark, wood-paneled bars in the Village, fitting as the two once called New York City home. Calla Lily is not about setting down roots, though. It is about motion and progression, whether it be the transience of moving from place to place or the simple changing of the seasons. The seasons play into the songs on Calla Lily, giving them vivid settings you can practically feel. The misty mornings and strong afternoon sun of springtime breathes life into the lyrics of “The Calla Lily Song,” and the cool autumn air and colorful showers of leaf confetti set the mood for “Sorrow,” a melancholy standout.
The Moss brothers build magnificent textures on Calla Lily with Adam’s fiddle, plus tambourine, cello, vibraphone, and more. “The Road Runner Song” is buzzing with lively barnyard energy and the brief instrumental “A Poquito Doina” uses dramatic strings for a mysterious, atmospheric effect. “Seein’ Double” plays like a vintage country drinking tune with curling guitars and a comedic she-done-me-wrong plot. “The Chase” relies on the brothers’ velvety vocals to convey a deep longing, conjuring a James Taylor-esque sound. And the album’s closer, “My Holy Way,” finds them driving off into a vast blue sky, like some kind of happy ending. It’s a song we can all get on board with as we inch closer to a post-pandemic world, to when we can all figure out who we are again, who we want to be. The Brother Brothers say it best: “To find the coming of the great and blessed ordinary day / Just an ordinary day.”