Berkshire indie/post-rock/pop noiseniks Sibling are all set to drop their excellent debut EP ‘Miserable Love’ at the end of the month. With a blend of emotionally-driven lyrics and impassioned hooks, it’s a short but certainly effective debut.
As they prepare for the release of ‘Miserable Love’, Already Heard has the exclusive premiere of Sibling’s video for ‘Silver’. We also met up with the trio in a Reading boozer recently to talk about Benio Baumgart’s transition from Hindsights to Sibling, their appreciation of pop and post-rock and more.
Usually a centre of Reading’s nightlife, the Purple Turtle is surprisingly empty on a mild Wednesday night at the end of September.
It’s a fitting place to meet Sibling’s Benio Baumgart, Sam Correa and Lewis Pickering ahead of the release of their debut EP, ‘Miserable Love’. I’d met Baumgart here for the first time more than two years ago, after joining up with the guys at Big Scary Monsters and Beach Community for an early evening drink. Baumgart’s former band Hindsights were planning the release of their debut – now sole – album, ‘Cold Walls/Cloudy Eyes’ and spirits within the camp were high as they tried to work out how many Malteasers Hindsights’ drummer Miles Hay packed in a day and calling BSM’s Kev Douch an old man for his obscure late 90s emo/scream knowledge.
Yet the circumstances this time are much different. After the demise of Hindsights, Baumgart is back, once again starting from scratch to build a band the UK underground will take to their hearts. Yet it’s not really square one, as the convoluted relationships of the Berkshire music scene has meant the roots of Sibling can be traced back to a post-rock studio project that’s well over a year old:
“We’re all big fans of bands like Caspian and Explosions in the Sky,” says Baumgart “We started this post-rock studio project and even recorded an EP – which will never be released probably.
“But after Hindsights, I was going to start a band with Tom Richfield [Hindsights’ fifth member], but he is going to go to Japan and I needed something that was going to be a long term thing. I didn’t want to be in a band just for a year and then have to start another new project, I want to put time and effort into it and I want to build something.”
“I knew he was working on something with Tom,” interjects guitarist Correa. “I was saying to Benio, just get me in. I’ll play bass. And it just so happened that out of that poppier project with Tom that we got here.”
The result is a fusion of the studio project that featured Baumgart, Correa and drummer Pickering and the original plan for the new band featuring Baumgart and Richfield. Expansive and nuanced, Sibling also display a keen ear for pop melodies and breezy hooks, making easy work of what could be tricky musical bedfellows. It is, however, a world away from the pop-punk and tech metal of Correa and Pickering’s previous acts:
“I think we just wanted to do something different,” considers Pickering. “We’d been headbanging our way through our late teenage years and now we’re ready to put some pop in our hearts. I think we’ve found writing pop songs suits us.”
Interestingly, this common ground – an appreciation of pop music and love for post-rock – is one of few meeting points for the trio, who all profess to different musical tastes:
“We don’t like a lot of the same bands”, laughs Pickering.
“A lot of people would see that as a hindrance to writing,” says Baumgart, “but because it’s such a wide variety of bands, it doesn’t really make a difference.
“I didn’t want to be writing music for the sake of it just being loud,” he continues. “I felt a little bit like that was how Hindsights approached stuff, especially with the live show. We’d written a couple of quiet songs, but with the live show, we always wanted it to be full of energy, and with this we want a varied sound, and I really want to touch on pop influences and also the atmospheric side of the post-rock stuff that we all like.”
For Baumgart in particular, Sibling represents a second crack at making a mark. While Hindisghts remain a much loved and much missed act, Baumgart is pointed in saying he felt the group had gone as far as it could, while remaining jealousy-free and proud of the success experienced by his peers:
“We did hit a glass ceiling. There was nothing else we could do,” he says plainly. “But it is so cool seeing friends doing well. Especially Boston Manor. I remember playing with them in a little 40-cap room and now they’re blowing up.
I ask if his experiences made him wary of going down the DIY route again:
“I wouldn’t say we’re back with it,” Baumgart counters. “With Sibling there is definitely an aim to write more popular music. Yet for me, personally, my roots will always be in DIY music and that’s a good thing, as if I didn’t have that introduction to the industry, I think it would have influenced my character. The DIY scene gives you a work ethic that’s very focused.”
The flipside of this however, is that it means Baumgart’s profile has helped bring a level of attention – anticipation even – to the act far ahead of the release of ‘Miserable Love’:
“Lewis and I were previously in a pop-punk band for three years, and we’ve already achieved more in Sibling than we have with that other band,” laughs Correa.
Baumgart, however, is more philosophical. “I’ve never been in this position before where people have known of an old band. I had it in the back of my mind that people would be constantly comparing Sibling to Hindsights – which is something I don’t want them to; I want them to see it as an entirely new project.”
Listening to ‘Miserable Love’, you can tell instantly that there’s more than enough about Sibling to make them stand apart as a separate entity, sympathetic and considerate of previous endeavours but suitably forward-thinking and progressive. Baumgart’s unmistakable vocals may make comparisons easy, but Sibling are a very different beast to anything the trio have done before…
‘Miserable Love’ by Sibling is released on November 30th on Little Rocket Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)