Brothers Lazaroff

Give 'Em What They Need

Dec 2, 2010 at 4:00 am

Give 'Em What They Need is the third record by Brothers Lazaroff, and with each release Jeff and David Lazaroff add more soul and more brave experimentation to their rootsy music. Credit the Brothers' instrumentalists — bassist Teddy Brookins, drummer Grover Stewart and keyboardist Mo Egeston — who make their recording debut on this album. Each musician brings a malleable but distinct flavor to the group, especially Egeston. A long-time vet of this city's funk and electro scenes, he adds immense color and texture to these songs, often in unexpected places. His churning Hammond organ chops are fairly straight-forward on the twangy, rambling "Run with the Horses," but the light, airy analog synth line that hovers overhead adds the right amount of spacey ambiance. Later, on "Feels So Nice," his harmonic intervals on the Wurlitzer electric piano gently punctuate the loping rhythm and meditative vocals.

In fact, this thread of slightly outré instrumentation and experimentation from all five members runs through many of the disc's dozen tracks. The minor-key strut of "Move, Shake, Bounce" glides on a mix of smooth funk bass and a relaxed syncopated beat, but tape-delay manipulations gradually move to the front before sputtering and imploding by the song's end. Not every song benefits from this catch-all approach, though. A nimble break-beat opens "Weak in the Knees" before dissolving into a haze of synths and heavily chorused guitars and slow jam-worthy smoothness. The groove is there, but the Brothers never quite set the mood. By and large, these excursions don't detract from each song's core; instead, they become inextricable parts of the equation. As befits blood kin, Jeff and David's voices meld into one on nearly every song. This sometimes has a diffusing rather than a doubling effect, but on Give 'Em, the vocals are one part of the whole, and that feels like the right balance.

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