C2 & The Brothers Reed are interested in authenticity not bland accessibility. Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, the band digs into the various histories of rock to investigate the darker corners where their collective impulses can wander and absorb sounds without restriction. Built around the passions and creativities of singer-bassist Cameron Clark, guitarist Kelly Reed, keyboardist James Weishar and drummer Kody Reed, their music draws from a vast array of recognizable influences even as it subverts our expectations as to the movements through which they filter these specific inspirations.
After the release their debut EP, “Hot Mess,” in 2013, they set out on an impressively expansive tour that took them all across the country. Less than a year later, they headed back into the studio to record their debut LP, “Weigh Station Tour,” which was split into two halves: “Exit A” and “Exit B,” which were released separately across 2015 and 2016. They have a new record coming out later this year, with recording for it having started back in 2017. They’re working with Grammy-award winning producers Al Sutton and Marlon Young at Rustbelt Studios in Detroit to hone their communal instincts and develop a sound as riotous as it is catchy.
On their recent single, “No Pressure” the band doles out a modernist version of ‘70s rock and roll, finding nuance and complexity in their soul-inflected riffs and memorable melodies. There’s something familiar here but not staid, a feeling of reinvention and adaptation that pushes past simple homage into some deeper unexplored musical territory. The guitars crackle and fling electricity through the air while the drums contort the nearby landscape. Clark’s vocals are immediate and beguiling, filling each line with emotion and an understanding of its own place within this churning rhythmic whirlpool.
The accompanying short film, directed by Clark and Weishar, finds a man guiding a group of children in an allegorical play where each represents a fundamental element of life, such as consciousness, temptation and destiny. Initially overbearing, the man eventually softens after a series of random stage accidents (overturned tables, fallen fake walls, out of control pushcarts) cause him to embrace the chaotic nature of his surroundings and help those playing out their parts. At the end, however, we’re shown that the man is alone onstage in front of a small group of people who cheer and applaud when it’s all over, making us question the reality of what we’ve just seen.