By Karum Cooper
Opening track ‘Technology’ gets off to an interesting start and the significant lack of guitars in the first 5 seconds definitely raised eyebrows. Before long though, the Bedfordshire 4 piece let rip with an immensely potent riff which returns again at the end of the song – by far the heaviest 10 seconds I’ve ever heard in a Don Broco song.
Now, Don Broco, have never impressed me with their extensive lyrical ability (no disrespect to band) but the they have never been the types to write anything with superbly emotional and clever metaphorical value. On ‘Technology’ there is no improvement whatsoever. I’d even go as far as to say Damiani’s lyricism has decreased in fluency a whole lot. At times on this album I feel like he’s stringing together entirely random lyrics that have no coherence at all. This is particularly obvious in the intro of ‘Come out to LA’, the bridge of ‘Everybody’.
Even at times when Rob D’s lyrics do make some resemblance of sense to the listener, they still strike me as being extremely contrived, lacking in emotion and meaning entirely. Lucky for the lead singer, he never fails to get across his level of conviction. With every vocal performance on this album, most notably songs like ‘Porkies’ and ‘Got To Be You’, the sheer power, assertiveness and vehement conviction in his voice definitely balances out the previous argument.
Listen to ‘Come Out To L.A’ here:
The band have definitely overdone it with the autotune/pitch correction in a few songs and to me it sounds so odd. Rod has arguably one of the most interesting, unique and powerful male voices in the UK Alt scene and to hear it butchered with vocal processing is somewhat saddening.
This album hears several almost 80s ballad-esque piano & vocal breaks, plenty of chart pop influenced lyricism, synth pads & swell and the third track ‘T Shirt Song’ even features a live horn section. This record definitely dots around in several different directions – all whilst dipping back into the “Riff Pop” style that this album is clearly basing itself around. There’s a bunch of tracks on this album that I really don’t know how to feel towards. The intro on ‘Come Out To LA’ for example sounds like it’s straight from the first page of a Sean Mendez or Katy Perry songbook. Damiani sports this incredibly fake and contrived pop accent before the song erupts into an anthemic, catchy “Classic Broco” chorus. The hooks on this record are littered with that classic Don Broco sound; the comfortable and familiar sounding chord progressions and vocal melodies peppered throughout this album, reassures fans and listeners alike that the band are able to keep some resemblance of continuity; a fragment of their former selves if you will. I think this is what allowed the guys to really push the boundaries of their pop sensibility without drifting too far away from their core sound.
It’s obvious that the band have gone in a very interesting musical direction for a band of their style and stature. As with a lot of bands of the same elk (Lower Than Atlantis, Deaf Havana and Bring Me The Horizon). The “TopmanCore” quartet have embraced their catchy, pop side and have clearly begun writing songs for a commercial, mainstream market. What has really surprised me though, is that whilst sticking to what sounds like an extremely conventional, pop laced, formulaic songwriting style – Don Broco are simultaneously going in the other direction. They are embracing their riff roots and writing some of the heaviest material I’ve heard from the band.