If you had heard nothing about the Kopecky Family Band except their name, you would be forgiven for not having high hopes about this Nashville six-piece. It doesn’t help much to learn that none of the band members are related, nor are any of them named Kopecky.
But the band (let’s just call them KFB) is well worth a listen. The songs are melodic, atmospheric, and feature imaginative arrangements of acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, keys, cello, violin, and the occasional horn or xylophone. Still, the big feature is always the vocal harmonizing of bandleaders Gabe and Kelsey. (They don’t like to use their last names, apparently preferring that everyone think that they are really named Kopecky.)
KFB wouldn’t sound out of place played alongside the bombastic and highly popular folk-rock of the Lumineers (with whom they’ve toured) or Mumford & Sons (when Gabe sings solo, he tends to emote like Marcus Mumford). But to my ears, KFB is more interesting than those bands. Though the songs are rooted mostly in acoustic instruments, the recent, self-released Kids Raising Kids is produced like an indie-rock record, with hard-hitting drums, sudden shifts in dynamics, and a palpable sense of space. Check out “Wandering Eyes,” which starts out with a somber string arrangement and then turns into a foot-stomping sing-along, which is undercut by an unexpectedly mournful-sounding slide guitar.
After starting up five years ago, KFB played SXSW, CMJ, and many other showcases where they won the attention of Paste magazine, NPR’s “All Songs Considered,” and other tastemakers. They moved on to some of the really big festivals: Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits. Next stop, world domination?
KOPECKY FAMILY BAND: Soda Bar, Wednesday, December 5, 8:30 p.m. 619-255-7224. $8 advance/$10 door.