You certainly couldn’t fault the enthusiasm of Dennis and Marvin Ledermann at Bonn Folk Club last Friday. This was, as Dennis was keen to point out, “Where it all began”. Outside, a table filled with T shirts, stickers and CD’s showed where it’s currently got to. It also held the reason for the brothers appearance this evening – The release of Bromo‘s debut CD ‘Brother Movement’.
It seems like a lifetime ago that Dennis Ledermann stepped into the light of a single stand-up lamp at Bonn Folk Club with a white T shirt and blue cardigan to sing his own composition ‘The Old Me’. Writing about that debut, Folk Club reporter Detlef Stachetzki was impressed by the confidence shown by the newcomer. Dennis himself was impressed with the Folk Club too, so much so that he wanted to come back the next month. “Not possible” was the reply. There were so many people wanting a spot that two months in a row would be unthinkable, unless you were a part of another group…
The next month Dennis was back, with ‘another group’ in the form of his brother Marvin – and the rest, as they say, is history.
It all seems like ancient history to me now too, but a quick check on my reviews and actually Dennis Ledermann first strummed a guitar in earnest publicly for Bonn Folk Club in the first week of February 2016, bringing Marvin along the following month. Time is indeed the proverbial jetplane.
As noted, the promise was clearly there in 2016, and I’m please to say that the new release confirms the impression given that day by Detlef and my own review. This is a confident ‘Treff-sicher’ release by the brothers musically. Before that very first appearance I heard Dennis deep in discussion about Facebook and band names, so it’s no surprise that the new release is well marketed with a great double portrait of the duo on the cover. As a photographer myself I’m apt to deduct a star from my review for the absence of a credit for the pictures, and also the absence of details concerning other musicians too (or are the rhythm and drum beats all sampled?) No producer credit either. Luckily I don’t rate by stars so I can’t deduct any…
It’s recorded in the TonStudio KoelnBonn and whoever did the producing managed a very clean sound that captures the two pretty much as they sound, without too many frills , keeping it simple. Given that there are only five tracks on here it’s a pity that the first track played in 2016’s Folk Club ‘The Old Me’ didn’t make it to the disc. Maybe because it’s pre Marvin? But then ‘Circles’ is also an oldie (a relative term given the bands youth!). It has the gentle reggae Dub rhythm still from day one and makes a clear statement that Bromo are not just Ed Sheeran clones Good perhaps at least in that respect that they didn’t include ‘Fire on the Mountain’ here although it’s probably their most popular number live.
‘Like a picture’ edges more towards a samba beat and has a nice synthesizer sound that I would have liked to have heard more of. If it’s a machine then maybe a real live human keyboard player would add some nice texture and variety to the sound.
Speaking of machines, track three is called ‘Machine’ and I like it a lot although stretching the two syllables of ‘machine’ into three make it difficult to understand the lyrics first time around. When you do take the trouble to listen to the words though they are surprisingly good for non-native speakers (and pretty good for native speakers too I should admit!) In fact I’d go as far as to say that it’s a pity the lyrics of all songs are not on the sleeve, especially since the prime audience is listening in a different language from their own.
“Feeling like a machine. Ice cold, like a machine” Nice lyrics, nice song. Enough said. ‘Crazy’ actually sounds a little too machine-like for me. There’s a click-track sound that would have had me taking it back to the shop if it was a little black vinyl disc in the 70’s. I guess that nightmare is no longer awakened in the days of MP3 and Spotify.
Whilst as noted there’s no ‘Fire on the Mountain’ there is a nod to Fantasy drama and Game of Thrones with the closing ‘Nightwatch’. It’s also rather catchy. Watch out Mr Sheeran – you’re not the only redhead with an eye for a good lyric and ear for a melody.
All in all an excellent debut by the brothers Ledermann. Good songs well recorded. I feel a little short changed by the fact that there only five tracks here – I’m sure eight or nine would have been possible with a cover or two added. ‘Fire…’ ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Englishman in New York’ come to mind. Maybe it was a licensing problem to get permissions? A couple of additional local musicians to add some light and shade would have been a nice touch too although maybe it would have taken the focus off of the duo too much. I’m being petty here though, because really there’s enough on ‘Brother Movement’ to make the ever growing army of Bromoians happy and keep the T shirt sales up, without losing track of the music behind it. Looking forward to the next one already!
Bromo’s debut CD ‘Brothermovement’ is available HERE