The brainchild of frontman Liam McCormick, The Family Crest began as a recording project in 2009 with co-founder/bassist John Seeterlin. “We always liked making music with people—getting a bunch of people together and singing. So we put ads everywhere,” says McCormick. “We posted on Craigslist and emailed old friends from school.” The outcome was greater than the original duo imagined, with 80 people credited on the first recording the band produced. From that a seven-piece core band emerged, though the Crest boasts over 400 “Extended Family” members.
Following on the heels of last summer’s The Headwinds EP (which earned fans in WXPN and Paste), Beneath the Brine shows that McCormick’s ambition was well placed. The expansive breadth of arrangements—from the dark, classical romanticism of the title track to the Roaring ‘20s sound of “Howl”—are complemented by the incredible range of McCormick’s voice. Beneath the Brine also showcases The Family Crest’s ability to infuse pop into complex arrangements, with songs like “Love Don’t Go” and “The World.” The album is a sweeping soundscape befitting the oceanic theme of the title, and what SPIN called “ambition wide enough to swallow you whole.”