The Lineup


Co.

Charleston, S.C.

Co.

There’s a story—a compelling and sad one—lingering behind Company’s supremely catchy songs, but it would be unfair to the Charleston outfit’s energetic craft to define it by the tragic events of its past. The band hinges on the creative pursuits of Brian Robert Hannon, a 27-year-old who spent much of his youth devouring every rock record he could find that at least loosely fit the definition of “indie.” Just as that word has become increasingly adaptable, Hannon’s internalization of disparate sounds results in songs that indulge frequent stylistic shifts, even as they’re united by the singer’s warm words.

The group caught what looked to be a big break when Ben Bridwell, the Charleston-based leader of the enormously successful Band of Horses, happened upon Hannon and recommended Company to Mississippi’s Fat Possum imprint. The label released the band’s debut EP in 2010, and the music justified Bridwell’s interest, dealing in the softly accessible choruses and reverb-enhanced twang that marks Band of Horses. An LP, Holy City, followed the next year via Brooklyn’s Exit Stencil; that record opts for slacker rock tangles reminiscent of Built to Spill.

The sad part of the story occurred between those two releases: Kelly Grant, Company’s drummer and Hannon’s closest collaborator, died in December 2010 after contributing to Holy City. Absorbing the blow, Company has pressed on in admirable fashion, returning with its best offering, the LP Dear America, in 2012. Brighter and crisper than either of its predecessors, it’s a celebration of indie rock’s most pop-infused elements. The album earns comparisons to Big Star, a testament to Company’s continued adaptability and its perseverance in the face of incredible obstacles. —Jordan Lawrence