I’ve always been a bit envious of musical families. Not to say that I don’t have a few musicians in my family tree; rather, I’ve always coveted the kind of synergy that is evidenced in the debut recording by the father/son duo of Arranged Marriage. Aptly titled Dearly Beloved, their debut record is a labor of love for Brad and Scott Allen – Brad is the father, Scott the son, in case you were wondering – and features the kind of collaboration comes from joining the influence of the full spectrum of the rock of the ‘60s, the DIY ethic of indie-rock and the intimate production of the singer-songwriter set.
The Allen family are not exactly strangers to the indie music scene. Scott – along with his brother Ryan – were members of the defunct Red Shirt Brigade, and have spent the better part of the last decade touring the world with post-punk revivalists Thunderbirds Are Now! After breaking from the cycle of being in a touring indie rock band, Scott joined Brad and started working on the record in the family home, where they built a studio and, as they put it, took their time crafting a record that highlighted their favorite music.
Bridging the generational gap seems effortless, with the influence finding common ground within the pop inflected arrangements. There are moments on this record that just feel right, such as the jaunty piano-driven pop of “Sit Alone,” the country-tinged simplicity of “Empty Bottles,” and the tender “What Should I Do.” The vocal are shared between Brad and Scott; when the duo effortlessly harmonizes is where the family connection comes to bear.
If nothing else, this record deserves your attention for the perfect slice of well crafted, intimate pop music. And if you are like me, it might nudge you to spend that extra time sharing your passion with your kids, and maybe learn a thing or two about theirs. (2010 Suburban Sprawl Music)