Album of the Week: The Pierce Brothers’ Atlas Shoulders (2018 LP) is the summer album we deserve

Over the years, The Pierce Brothers have become a centrepiece of Blues, Folk and Roots within the Australian music-scape. From their start as Melbourne street buskers, the brothers’ relentless push to hone their own talents and musical abilities have driven them overseas, with landmark tours around the Europe and UK. This has also coincided with their third full length project, Atlas Shoulders. Carrying on the traditions of the previous album, Atlas Shoulders proves that continuing to sharpen your abilities pays off, covering eleven tracks that each fit all the criteria of a hit while also highlighting Pat and Jack’s tales over the course.

The album tells a story through the brothers’ music starting off with the softly upbeat, “Waiting”. The track is a macro world of music, slowly building layers through the early verses of the songs until hitting the first chorus with a bang. The song also impacts lyrically; with the lovelorn lyrics “Years have come and gone/still you’re on my mind” striking a chord and rolling as a sticking hook throughout.

“Waiting” leads out through the bridge with what seems like a tempered fanfare, the glowing horns fighting through the top of a full breath of sound, creating a combinations of instruments leading to the final notes of the track. This top end of Atlas Shoulders really drives an energetic bolt through the album and helps to set a pace that is generally constant.

“Trip Lovers” has the grassroots edge to it that has followed the Pierce Brothers’ from their days as buskers, sliding straight into the faster paced strum of the guitar and a constant bass kick to give the track that rhythmic jolt, it couples with the brothers’ polished harmonies through the chorus of the recording and continues the energy present in the early stages of the album.

These songs eloquently dart in and out of one another, with shifting genre tones, base harmonies and styles, yet all of their tracks come back to central themes of love, happiness and home. The album celebrates the simple but arguably most important things in life, grounding the album in everyday easy listening. It’s hard to tear yourself away from with the idea that a smile may break across your face, while The Pierce Brothers’ double down on an upbeat notion, but their songs still simmer with the same emotion that their previous works have stood up for.

The brothers’ emotive instrumental subtext is fully realised in “Reckless Hearts and Reckless Hands” and “Back To You” as both of the recording rip into the heart of the album. With the familiar sounds of a finger plucked guitar sitting alongside a relaxed bass line “Reckless Hearts and Reckless Hands” looks away from the truly pumping nature of other “Back To You”, but still stands out as a energetic and punchy track.

These two tracks takes a more face on approach to the music and help to create a stated juxtaposition between these heavier numbers and the vocally focused tracks such as “Love You Broke”, and the brothers’ lead up single to Atlas Shoulders “Juno”.

The album closes with “Hold Out”, a highlight of the album and a emotional ‘tour de force’ that helps close things on the perfect notes. “Hold Out” leads in with a slower, tempered guitar and soft, well rounded vocals of Pat. Unlike the bulk of the album, it plays through in the form of a intent ballad, settings Atlas Shoulders well, with the impact coming in emotional waves, not needing the heavy hitting layering of earlier tracks to build its message. “Hold Out” still has its moments leading to the close though as we hear a build through the bridge using the hard strumming of the guitar and Pat’s rising vocals to elicit the emotion needed to drive home such a powerful album.


Atlas Shoulders will be released this Friday, 26th October.