Arpeggiated guitar and chords steeped in tremolo introduce us to the debut full-length album, Progress, by Northern New Jersey-based Brother Jerome. But it doesn’t take long before this swelling intro gives way to the tight rock-reggae coupled with melodic horns that is distinctive of this young band’s brand of music. Cutting through the sharpened staccato instrumental of their latest single “Soul Shine” is the voice of frontman Ryan Bria, who’s late brother is the namesake for the band. The lyrical hook “if life was a tank and a fish was my soul, I’d need your love to keep my belly full” paints a picture of your typical lovers rocker, but it’s only a matter of time before the words dig deeper, continuing along the thematic discourse of cultural progress defined by the title of this freshman release.
On the topic of “Soul Shine,” Bria states:
“Having never owned my own fish tank before, upon walking into the apartment where I currently reside, the fish were a frequent topic of conversation. After playing some music with saxophone player/vocalist Dan Chetnik, I was observing the fish and began to play with some lyrics, likening their life situation to mine. “Soul Shine” was the outcome.”
Creative songwriting approaches aside, the end result of any track is often stemmed from more than lyrics alone. Bria continues:
“In the years leading up to that day I expanded my pallet for American Reggae. One of my favorite artists out there is SOJA. I didn’t realize it at the time, but their song “Tell Me” was definitely an inspiration for “Soul Shine.” But the main influence was love, which continues to permeate my songwriting today.”
For an artist at any stage in their career, the calling is often there to stand as a beacon for societal change. To stand for progress. While that drive may be obvious, the execution of this goal is often times easier said than done. Keep an eye on Brother Jerome as they continue to develop their posture as a voice for what lies at the heart of all cultural growth: progress.
Pre-order your copy of Brother Jerome’s debut full-length album Progress, out April 6.