The follow up to 2018’s ‘Technology’, Don Broco’s fourth full-length album ‘Amazing Things’ sees the Bedford four-piece bolder, more creative, and more experimental than ever. Gemma Cockrell reviews.
The album’s catchiest track Uber, released as a single, may simply seem like a casual track about calling an Uber and going home after a long night out, but the reality of its meaning is much deeper. As lead vocalist Rob Damiani explained via Instagram; “This was the first song we started writing for the album a few years ago touring the States. Within the space of a week, three separate Uber drivers were openly racist in front of us, I guess assuming as white guys we’d share their views. Uber is about being angry about that, being angry that racists seem to be growing in confidence to speak their hate in public and it’s a reminder to me to call out that discrimination whenever I see it.” This isn’t the only track where Don Broco speak out about important issues that are plaguing the contemporary world. Lead single Manchester Super Reds No.1 Fan speaks about the toxicity of fanbases and internet culture, while album closer Easter Sunday is an ode to loss of life due to COVID-19.
Tracks like these prove that there is more to Don Broco than meets the eye, but the album does have some tracks that have less of a serious-tone, that serve to provide moments of relief. The rowdy Bruce Willis, which comes after a seamless and satisfying transition from the previous track How Are You Done With Existing?, is simply the result of Damiani wanting to write the catchphrase from one of his favourite films into a song lyric. It is an experimental cut, starting with a heartfelt piano balladlike introduction, before twisting and turning its way through snarled verses, aggressively shouted chants with haunting supervillain sounding laughs scattered throughout, and even a pitch-shifted section that reminded me of rap supergroup Brockhampton on first listen – an unexpected comparison, but a valid one in my eyes.
marking the moment when the verses become more fuelled, aggressive and intense
Swimwear Season, another experimental highlight of the record, begins with what sounds like it could be the instrumental for a radio-friendly pop tune, before exploding into a chorus with muffled vocals that manage to blend into the dense instrumental without diminishing the anthemic nature of the track. Following Swimwear Season immediately on the tracklist comes Endorphins, which seems initially to follow a similar pattern; it starts with smooth, high-pitched vocals until the drums kick in, marking the moment when the verses become more fuelled, aggressive and intense. However, instead of understated chorus vocals like Swimwear Season, the chorus of Endorphins features soaring vocals that tower over the rock instrumentation.
the album isn’t afraid to strip things back and slow it down
Don Broco have clearly found a formula that works for them, and yet they still know how to subvert the listeners expectations and provide unexpected variations within their song-writing. Despite this unpredictability and high pace that dominates the majority of the songs on ‘Amazing Things’, the album isn’t afraid to strip things back and slow it down. Anaheim is driven by a plodding drum beat, and while the listener is expecting the rest of the band to join the track relatively early on based on its precursors, this doesn’t happen until the latter half of the track, where the pace does increase, but to a gentle and subdued level (on Don Broco’s terms, at least). Even though it’s not as in-your-face as the rest of the album, it is still an effective build up, resulting in a memorable listen.
Don Broco are a rock band by definition, and sure, the music on this album is rock music – that is a fact that cannot be denied. But ‘Amazing Things’ consists of unapologetically experimental and genre-bending rock music, with Don Broco proving that they are unafraid to push the boundaries of the genre and continue to redefine what it means to be a rock band in 2021.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact.
In-article image courtesy of @donbroco via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.
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