Her Brothers — the alt-rock band of three brothers from Vancouver B.C. Their lively, refined pop is a balance of 90s punk energy and 80s grooves. With broad crossover appeal, Her Brothers crafts moving ideas in a big sound.
Vancouver’s Her Brothers, a trio of three brothers, plays a lively, refined pop taking inspiration from a mix of styles and traditions. With a core of alt-rock, the band fuses elements from 90s pop-punk, 80s dance and R&B, and old soulful jams.
It all comes from a range of influences from Peter Gabriel to Scritti Politti, Jack White, Maroon 5, and U2. Her Brothers has the unique ability of playing within the canon of contemporary hits while recalling the timeless tradition of musicality.
The band has established a significant following through their extravagant live shows. They’ve shared the stage with artists Colbie Caillat, The Barenaked Ladies, Francesco Yates, and SonReal among others.
“Although we play pop-rock, my roots are definitely punk—whether it be The Clash, Black Flag, or The Sex Pistols,” Gabe said. “For me, there was always this energy and angst that I think comes through our music and that I certainly feel myself when onstage.”
It’s true that Gabe Penner’s punker-like energy fuels and integrates with his reflective lyrics.
“I’ve always tried to be adventurous with my lyrics—in the socratic sense,” he added.
Her Brothers’ line-up consists of Gabe, Josh, and Levi Penner, who have played together since 2006 when each picked up an instrument. At the time, Levi was just seven years old.
Her Brothers formed in their parent’s basement. Gabe got a guitar, Josh had a bass lent to him from a friend, and Levi quickly took to the drums which had been left by someone for storage. Soon after, in an old church rented out for a concert, they played their first live show. Serendipitously, it was the same venue their parents had first played when they had a group of their own years before.
After releasing their debut album She in 2015—featuring their youngest sibling, their sister, on the cover—and experiencing unprecedented success, the band was asked to join Vancouver We Day at Rogers Arena with 20,000 people, bringing on massive public attention.
Soon after, Her Brothers played extensively across B.C. They then played for 15,000 people, headlining at Abbotsford B.C.’s Canada day celebration, and toured Alberta through a partnership with the organization Mighty Peace Youth for Change. The tour brought on even more acclaim with their single “Love Over Hate” receiving radio airtime through the toured region.
The continuous upswing generated more excitement for the band’s upcoming sophomore album, Tribe, for which they released the single, “Together We Stand,” early in 2017, in front of 3000 youth at the Mighty Peace Day event.
Tribe, featuring Keith Scott (of Bryan Adams) and Brent Howard (of Randy Bachman), sees the band experimenting with an even broader repertoire than their earlier work.
Describing it, Levi said, “Our sound will likely always be in some sort of flux because we’ve never really seen the band itself as being static.”
“We’re definitely a rock band but the point has never been to be a rock band,” Levi said. “We use guitars, drums, and bass but we’ll also use whatever else sounds cool to us in the moment”
Creating Tribe, the band experimented with more synth and vocal elements than on She, which is markedly more toned down. It took nearly three years and over 100 songs written to craft Tribe’s details. The album focuses on connections and the lack of them, especially as the social media / digital landscape dominates daily life. A distinction it makes is communication is not connection.
Most of the album was recorded in the bands basement studio and the majority of the mixing in Calgary with engineer Christian Stonehouse. On stage, the band has been experimenting with some of Tribe’s unreleased tracks and has experienced an overflow of fan excitement.
Fans know authenticity. A band like Her Brothers knows the nuanced world of music creation as well as the world in which it’s created. Her brothers writes for the new era and makes music that excites.
“Every song comes from a personal place, so that’s where we play it from,” Josh, said.
For Her Brothers, the song is king. It’s why typical genre conventions don’t bind their style. But their passion is for the stage, it’s where the song comes to life. No matter what venue or stage, their shows are notably electrifying. The band radiates stadium-shaking energy and creates an unmistakable atmosphere.
Tribe completes an era for Her Brothers. Now, they offer this solution to the questions not yet posed: keep asking questions. Dig deeper—into the music, the song, the beat—explore your assumptions and kill your unexamined beliefs. Listen to the voices of hope, for they’re the ones to instigate revolution. The world is exciting because something's happening and it all comes down to listening.