Some of the most durable bands in rock have come out of small-town, lifelong relationships. A relationship doesn’t get more lifetime than a power trio that includes two brothers and towns don’t get a whole lot smaller than New Glarus. Whatever is in the water down in Green County has been passed around between the Family Business and the Anderson Brothers. Both bands rock with a similar urgency, heavily drawing upon classic rock and offering no apologies for it.
The Anderson Brothers occupy a zone someplace where the vintage rock of Head East meets the metallic edge of Rush. They bear many of the hallmarks of the “Madison Sound:” intense, brash, overdriven, edgy rock played straight from the gut. All three members are musically trained and those chops are on full display throughout their debut recording Saints Don’t Sell. These guys can really groove and you can’t have an effective power trio without a high octane rhythm section. Drummer Cole Dockter is impressive as he propels these tight and riffy tunes, adding tasteful fills and never overplaying. He and bassist Brian Anderson are in the pocket, providing a rock solid foundation for guitarist/vocalist Eric Anderson to strut his stuff.
Lyrically the record ruminates on society’s ills: money, power, dishonesty. “I’m a real work of art / What do you think / I don’t care,” Eric intones on “Masterpiece,” one the album’s heavier tracks that really spotlights the band’s strengths. On this track they feature guest guitarist Isabelle Stern from just up the road apiece in Monticello. If you haven’t heard of her, you will. Check her out here. The song also features Eric’s vocals in a more comfortable area. At other times on the record it sounds like he’s pushing his range, approaching Geddy Lee-ness. “Not Going Crazy” is another song on the heavier side with a cool chordal motif and another comfortable vocal zone for Eric, who whips out the harmonizer for the spacey guitar solo in the song’s middle section.
Harmony vocals are strong. “Devils in the Details” opens the album and has a strong melodic hook in the chorus. “Silence with Violence” trips the listener right back to the early seventies with high vocal harmonies and a strong affliction of boogie. The boogie continues on “It’s Time” and the band channels a little George Thorogood on “Dig Your Own Grave.”
Saints Don’t Sell was recorded in a home studio by Eric Anderson. The sound has a nice, live feel. The lead vocals are the only weak spot and it may have more to do with the recording than Eric’s ability to stretch his voice as often as he does. The band’s energy and abilities would certainly interest any producer in town and an independent ear would probably benefit them. Check this link to get a feel for the live performance sound. At any rate, this is one kick-ass rock band that should get on bill a bit more often in Madison.