In the history of music, there have been many great acts built upon a central romantic pairing (or more if you’re Fleetwood Mac), which has often resulted in plenty of material about love, and almost inevitably ends in breakup. However, a more compelling musical relationship to have at the heart of the band are two who are siblings; they are created from the very same biological materials, surely that has to count for something when it comes to artistic chemistry? Historically we have seen siblings in bands that have been compelling, harmonious, and often fractious – but almost always musically inspired. From The Carpenters to Oasis, there’s no shortage of great bands with siblings in history, but here are 7 of the best currently working.
With not just two of the members being siblings, but all three, the Haim sisters have plenty of unspeakable communication between them that they channel into their music. Este, Danielle and Alana have proven that across their two albums, which are as tight and immaculate as any pop in history.
Started as a solo project by Frances Quinlan, Hop Along really took off when she added three more members to broaden the sound – one of them being her brother Mark. While Frances is still the creative driving force of the band, it’s easy to hear the understanding that Mark brings to the fleshing out of her ideas in the final roaring rock songs.
Perhaps even more powerful than merely being siblings is being twins. That’s the relationship between Ibeyi’s two members Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz, who are French-Cuban and have Nigerian heritage (“ibeyi” means “twins” in the Yoruba language). They put this kaleidoscope of cultures into their music in a way that the two of them could comprehend, but everyone can enjoy.
Kim Campesinos wasn’t an original member of Los Campesinos!, but as the years have gone on and members have come and gone around the core members, she has come to be a fulcrum of the group. Behind her brother Gareth, singer and lyricist extraordinaire, she adds plenty of melodic keys and backing vocals, and is a big reason why their last two albums have sounded so much bigger than anything they’ve done before.
The National in fact don’t have just one set of brothers, but two; Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and Bryan and Scott Devendorf. While Matt Berninger is probably the most recognised of the band, thanks to his position as front man and his velvety voice, he wouldn’t be anything without the backing of these four, who bring his stories into IMAX through their combined musical intuition.
Andrew Savage is the co-leader of Parquet Courts, but their stop-start rock wouldn’t be anywhere near as sharp without their backbone provided by his brother Max on the drums. It’s perhaps this connection between brothers that gives Parquet Courts that snarky edge that places them amongst the cream of the crop of current post-punk acts.
Of course, one of the longest-lived and best-known bands still around comprises two brothers. While Jonny might be the more famous Greenwood, for his film scoring work, his insane instrumental ability, or his floppy hair, Colin is just as important to the brilliance of Radiohead’s best work. Just listen to the bass lines on songs like ‘Airbag’, ‘Where I End And You Begin’ or ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ for a mere glimpse of the various melodic underpinnings he has brought to Radiohead over their entire career.