Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Review: Don Broco - Priorities

 Sometimes when one scene is filled with a new band appearing every which way, you do start to wonder who is the real deal in the entire unfolding of the scene and more attention is put to some bands, while others levels of attention are diverted. For a long time, when ultimate focus had to be placed on the likes of Twin Atlantic, Young Guns and Lower Than Atlantis, Bedford's Don Broco, were a band tat I couldn't really make an effort to focus on, or rather, they weren't on my list of Priorities. When first hearing their name appear when listening to new songs all I could think was "Well come on then, let's see what you've got" and what they had was the title track, from their debut album. How could I be anything other than blown away?

 However, this was months ago and it's only now that we've gotten to the moment that Priorities has been released in it's entirety. Don Broco have risen in their overall prolific-ness since then and have been recognised as a group of cool lads making some hard hitting pop rock tunes, with enough freshness to last an album. That's all you really need to know about them. That and the fact that this logic may sound unappealing but it is in fact brilliant.

 Opening on the song that those that love their rock songs spiked with hooks are forced by choice to fall in love with, Priorities takes listeners on a thrilling spiked up journey through North London, hearing stories of real life situations, thoughts and ideas told through the effortlessly smooth vocal performance of frontman Rob Damiani, creating the songs to be like the musical equivalent of spending a night in the pub hearing loads of different stories from one guy, and never getting bored..

 Smoothness seems to be an overriding musical idea throughout the album. Riffs hit hard throughout the album from the instant leap into distortion provided by Hold On to the rush of urgency packed into Back In the Day, however, though they hit hard, you can always find some kind of a velvet laden texture to surround the overall sound, even amidst piles of distortion created by Simon Delaney. This is a good way to be though, as the song is given a greater depth in which one may fully lose themselves, as you'd want to with a good pub story. I think there's a link here. Or a theme about hanging out at the Bedford local.

 With these smooth song textures laid out, it's the performance from Damiani that gives Priorities it's ever diverse nature. The smooth shifting dynamic between high pitched calls and lower gruffer vocals on the title track, the song with one of 2012's best choruses and the ultimate "bros-before-hos" anthem highlights the sense of constant concern from the songs antagonist towards his lover, and the "shut the hell up" sense of cynicysm from the song's protagonist, before Damiani furiously calls out "Mate, you know how much you've changed?/ Where's my buddy I was hanging out with yesterday?" Throughout, his vocal influences enter a wide range, from the raw calling of Yeah Man to the more chilled vibes of Here's the Thing and Fancy Dress, which take influences from indie rock and some chilled R n' B, done smoothly enough for it to become a completely gripping and convincing performance of the musical style. Making a wide range of modern rock influences is a prime issue for the album but this does mean the indie pop path can be followed and while lyrically Let's Go Back to School's dramatic realization of how far real life is removed from school days (Been finding that one out myself pretty hard) is totally gripping, it falls flat a little musically.

 But, if you want pop rock that leaves you with a definite rush, it's difficult to think of any album that's going to do it for you better this year than Priorities. With the band putting in a full frontal effort to create a work of songs so powerful and passionate, the translation into a set of simple finely crafted alt rock songs will be enough to lift anyone up. And without any doubt, Don Broco have made themselves a permanent fixture on the table of modern British rock bands. And this is only the first step.

Don Broco's Priorities is out now via Search and Destroy. The band will perform at Butserfest 2012 at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield on 15th September, Underground Festival at Gloucester Guildhall on 30th September and will tour the UK in October with Lower Than Atlantis, The Dangerous Summer and Transit.

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