Brothers & Sisters EP
- This article is about the EP. For the song, see Brothers & Sisters (song).
Brothers & Sisters EP is the second release by Coldplay. Recording was completed in four days.
The A-side, "Brothers & Sisters", was already a live favourite before the release of the EP.
The atmospheric backdrop to Easy to Please was created by setting up microphones on a wet road outside the studio.
Of the CD, only 2500 original copies are in existence, and can regularly be found on eBay. It was re-issued in 2002. A newer version of "Brothers & Sisters" appears on the "Trouble" single.
Just in case the nation's youth are losing their direction, time for some moral guidance. Coldplay have their eyes on the land of the bedsit, where non-specific angst and vague defiance stalk the night like hamsters, and songs like 'Brothers And Sisters' are there to take the strain off The Samaritans' hotline.
Unite, is the message here, spread love around - sentiments that should be crass like Chris Tarrant, yet somehow emerge free of evil. That the song springs from the psychic links between Thom Yorke and Bob Mould (acoustic earnestness, airy wailing) helps too; after all, if they came canvassing door-to-door you know you'd let them in. Coldplay are equally trustworthy indie evangelists, and if they're light on fire-and-brimstone thrills right now, 'Brothers And Sisters' at least has a clear eye and an honest face. The youth group outreach projects await.
Source: NME, April 17, 1999
- After the success of 'Parachutes' the band performed 'Brothers & Sisters' on The Jo Whiley Show.
Hi John. So, after you'd done the artwork for the Safety EP, Coldplay then got a single deal with Fierce Panda and you were asked you to do the next artwork too.
What was the thought process behind that one?
That was more like a proper project at college. I treated them like the client. At the time, they were quite into Radiohead, so it was quite Radiohead-y. I did lots of ideas in sketchbooks and on Photoshop. And this was when Photoshop was still quite new.
What's on the cover?
Well there's just a little image of some drowning, bobbing people, in that sketchy way. They quite liked that, but it was a bit boring on its own. I had this picture from my back garden in my horrible little student home in Birmingham. I remember there was this white pitbull dog in the garden next door which just used to bark constantly and drive me nuts. So it was a kind of angst-y, teenage-y picture, and it was supposed to be about being somewhere not so great. It was middle class angst, I suppose.
That picture was taken out of your bedroom window?
Exactly, from my college digs. So it's a solarised, negative version of that. You can see a fence, a couple of bin bags and that dog that was always barking. And over the top it's the drawing of Coldplay.
By this stage the band were beginning to go places. Were you under more pressure for this one?
No, I remember it being brilliant. I was really good friends with Jonny - I still am - so I'd go down there to see them all the time at university. And I'd be going with them to Fierce Panda. It felt like I was part of a team. They were very good at making everyone feel welcome. I was properly involved when they were recording things, as was all of our bunch of friends. We'd all be around. I was in the Fierce Panda studios working on the artwork and deciding where all the text and the logo would go. It just felt like I was helping them out, and vice versa.
Do you own a copy of this one?
Yeah, I have got that one. It's a bit battered though. It's had a lot of use.
How do you look back on that cover?
At the time I thought it was good, but you look back and it just looks like a pile of college rubbish now!
It has a certain charm. It's not too slick.
No, it certainly wasn't! This is the point where they still looked like geeky students. There was nothing polished about it.
So once they signed for Parlophone did your role as art man end?
Yeah, that's when it started to become a proper competition. Which was fine. I actually think I had better covers for the Brothers & Sisters one at the time - although in hindsight, they'd have looked rubbish as well - but that was the one that they chose.
Can you remember what the other options were?
Oh there's a whole load of them somewhere. I went off on loads of tangents. But I don't think they ever expected it to go massively stellar at that point. I think they just thought, screw it, it's of its time, it doesn't matter. And it doesn't really matter. It sells on the basis that it's this great early single from a now big band, and it's almost better that it's got a crap cover.
Crap is harsh. Have you designed other record covers since?
Only for bands I've been in. I've put down Photoshop now, really.
Do you still tell people that you've designed covers for Coldplay?
I used to, but I don't any more. I'll mention it occasionally if it comes up.
It's a pretty cool string to have on your bow.
Yeah, it's great. Although I'm more proud of the hundreds of photographs I've got of them rehearsing in their flat.
Have you got any plans to do anything with those?
They're all in a big Camden recycling box at the moment, in my wardrobe. Maybe one day I'll dig them all out. But it never felt right to try and exploit that sort of thing.
And you're still in touch with them?
Yeah. Jonny was my best man at my wedding, along with my friend Gav. We hang out all the time.
They've done quite well for themselves.
Brilliantly, I'm very, very proud.
Are you in a band still?
I am. I've been in a few bands over the years - Bettina Motive and Grand Transmitter. The one I'm in now is called The Complete Short Stories. It's a seven-piece with a girl singer. We've just done an album on Pointy records, which is a subsidiary of Fierce Panda. It's all going quite well at the moment.
The Oracle on Brothers & Sisters EP
April 3, 2013 - submitted by Erin, United States of America
Q. Hey guys
I am totally wondering about the Blue Room e.p. and Brothers and Sisters e.p.
Are these the first Coldplay recordings or just demos? Thank you in advance! (PS you guys are awesome!)
The Oracle replies:
Brothers & Sisters was a band demo that was released as a single by Fierce Panda. There was a subsequent version of Brothers & Sisters recorded for the b side of Trouble.
Coldplay's first release for EMI was The Blue Room. It contained a couple of tracks from their professionally studio recorded Safety ep demo. So to answer your question, both eps are made up of both.
Coldplay's demos were all of high quality though so it's hard to see them as demonstration when they were so good.
April 16, 2010 - submitted by Baran, Germany
Q. Dear Oracle,
The Blue Room ep there are 5,000 copies, I have a promo of The Blue Room and wanted to get you ep questions whether this is or whether it really is just a fake. The ep has no image and only in white above and below the name in blue Coldplay The Blue Room ep
Moreover, still stuck two stickers on it. In front the phone numbers of Kevin McCabe, Mike Walsh and Jackie Jenkins are on it. On the back side is a sticker on it on the band's history.
One more quick question, I have a Brothers & Sisters Cd original unopened wrapped in foil, will you have this, perhaps, because it has all started with this CD, so to speak?
The Oracle replies:
The first run of the Blue Room EP was limited to 500 copies and what you have is a promo copy from EMI so is not a fake exactly although different of course from the released version in appearance only. Promos usually state "not for resale" on them.
I have never seen a foil wrapped promo of Brothers & Sisters; it wasn't released in one and it would be unusual for it to be.
March 26, 2009 - submitted by Paul, Korea South
Q. Dear Oracle,
I've been trying to find an answer to this question everywhere, but I finally decided to ask you, which seems to be the best solution. The question is; was Brothers & Sisters released as a single or as EP? Some sources say it's EP (e.g. iTunes) but the official Coldplay website here, doesn't refer to it as EP, while other websites call it a single. What's the truth? Thanks, Oracle.
The Oracle replies:
It's widely referred to as a single. I recall the term EP being banded about and the term does indeed fit. Basically a single would usually consist of an A side (the lead single) and a B side (another track). Brothers & Sisters was released with 3 tracks in total so technically it is an EP (extended play). An EP usually consists of 3-5 songs.