CD Review: The Cerny Brothers “Looking For the Good Land”

It was back in 1976/1977 that Steve Popovich launched Cleveland International Records. Perhaps the most notable album to come from the label was Bat out of Hell from Meat Loaf. It was also the album that would lead to the label shutting down for over a decade as Popovich and later his son Steve Popovich Jr would fight for the rights to that album. But now the label is back and releasing albums from its back catalog as well as new albums. One such new release coming from the label is the latest album from the band The Cerny Brothers, a band that had its origins in Illinois before they moved to Nashville in order to make a name for themselves in the music industry.

When growing up, The Cerny Brothers (whose first names are Scott and Bob Cerny) found themselves with little musical influence. Part of the reason for that was growing up in rural Illinois, and another reason was that their parents had very little music around the house. In fact, it was only after the two brothers went off to college that they finally ended up discovering what they had been missing out on for so long. In came musical influence from the bands Radiohead, The Avett Brothers, even Bob Dylan became a necessary influence to the brothers like so many musicians that had come before.

As far as The Cerny Brothers and music are concerned, the duo has already released three albums of music. The previous albums include from the outfit include:  2011’s Dream, 2013’s Self-Titled album, as well as 2015’s Sleeping Giant. Having just signed with Cleveland International Records, the record company has just released the duo’s latest album. The 2019 album from The Cerny Brothers is entitled Looking For the Good Land.

For their latest release, The Cerny Brothers created the album mainly on their own as singer-songwriter Bob plays guitar and sings most of the songs while his brother Scott plays the keys and adds vocals to the track “Ghost” and takes his turn as lead vocalist on the track “Denver”. To fill out the rest of the music, the brothers are joined by drummer Houston Mathews and bassist Matt Anderson. They also had some help from Billy Nobel who adds some organ to the mix. What results is a sound that draws upon Rock and Roll, Country and a few other influences. And like The Avett Brothers, the duo’s musical direction falls somewhere within the Rock and Roll section genre of Americana. In fact, the duo’s music brings to mind the music of artists like Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, even John Mellencamp.

Looking For the Good Land from The Cerny Brothers begins with the track “I Wanna Love You”. It is the guitar from Bob Cerny that put the track into motion. Because of Bob’s guitar, the track features a strong Rock and Roll feel that falls directly into the eighties. With the guitar and the vocals from Bob Cerny that add to the lyrical content about wanting to fall in love, the song would have felt right at home on Top 40 stations back then. The song has enough of a modern feel that you could easily imagine the song getting played on today’s radio dial, too.

The latest release from The Cerny Brothers continues with the song “Days of Thunder”. While the previous track featured the guitar from Bob Cerny, this song features Bob on vocals and keyboards. It is the sound of the keyboards that begin the track as the song takes on a Rock and Roll approach that features music that easily brings to mind the sound of the Tom Petty track “Learning to Fly”. That track also has a strong Pop-rock feel to that music which seems to give the track an additional influence that suggests influence from Coldplay. The Coldplay/Tom Petty feel to the track gives the song a definite commercial feel.

On the track “Ghost,” the brothers change places as Scott Cerny takes a turn on lead vocalist while he plays the piano. The piano creates the majority of the music with the rest of the instrumentation adding flavor to the track which once again brings to mind some of the music from the band Coldplay. The inclusion of the banjo in the background of the track and some strings gives the track a strong commercial sound that would be perfect on today’s FM radio.

The Looking For the Good Land release from The Cerny Brothers continues with the track “American Whore”. This track finds the duo once again taking their music back to the days of the Rock and Roll music that could be found on the radio back in the eighties. The track’s music easily brings to mind the style of John Mellencamp at that time. The lyrical style even brings to mind the way Mellencamp would write his lyrics as the words feature a strong patriotic feel to them. So much so, that that is what the lyrics are about- being so patriotic that you would refer to the singer as being an “American Whore”. While the subject matter leaves you to decide how you look at things, this track is one of the strongest moments on the album.

On the next track, The Cerny Brothers return their music to a more current feel and approach. The music of “Where I’m Going” has a definite Pop-Rock feel. The brothers seem to have taken some musical influence from Sugar Ray, added some influence from Jack Johnson, added some more Pop-Rock feel to the music and created a track that would be perfect for today’s Top 40 or Adult Contemporary radio formats. In fact, this track feels as if it could easily garner the duo a strong hit single.

The newest release from The Cerny Brothers contains an entire release full of tracks that lead from one track to the next to create one strong release. And after three or four songs after “Where I’m Going,” the duo creates the track “Moon Above the Desert”. The track is one of the tracks on the release that stands out because of several things. One reason the song stands out is the length of the track. At nearly six minutes, the song is easily the longest track on the release. Another reason it stands out is because the duo creates the song by drawing upon Indie Rock influences. The track stands out from the rest of the music because of that musical direction. “Moon Above the Desert” is one song on the release that the listener will find themselves seemingly falling into as the song progresses.

Looking For the Good Land is strong release from The Cerny Brothers. The album contains twelve tracks that all have a rather commercial feel to them. And while the brotherly duo does use a lot of influence from the eighties to create the songs on this album that hardly gives the album a dated feel. In fact, the album feels rather fresh from beginning to end. And with this being the first new album to come from the relaunched version of Cleveland International Records, label and band seem ready-made for each other.

 

For the relaunched version of Cleveland International Records, click HERE

For a taste of the Looking For the Good Land release from The Cerny Brothers, check out the song “I Wanna Love You“. 

For the Looking For the Good Land release from The Cerny Brothers, click on the album cover below:

 

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