Don Broco – ‘Technology’ – 02/02/18
It has been just under three years since Don Broco released their sophomore album, Automatic. Since then, the band have done numerous sell out UK/EU tours, a vast multitude of festivals around the world, shows in Asia and Australia, as well as embarked on their first US tour and capped 2017 off with their biggest headline show to date at a sold out Alexandria Palace. After dropping numerous singles and even crazier videos, the announcement of their newest album, Technology, was welcomed with great excitement and high expectations, but now the time has come, does it live up to the hype?
The third full-length album opens with a cascade of singles released prior to the album release. Technology opens the album with the now signature groove that Broco bring, a touch of heavy guitar, simple, yet vicious drums and delicate splash of tasteful bass lines, the perfect recipe to open an album. Closely followed by the bass driven Stay Ignorant, the dynamic and multi layered T Shirt Song and the song that could easily be played in any club across the country, Come Out To LA, the album kicks off in serious style. “Bedford, where’s Bedford, come on?” introduces the next song, Pretty, arguably Broco’s best tune to date. With an infectious chorus, heavy guitar riffs and the simplicity of lead man Rob Damiani’s rhetorical lyrics, Pretty brings the party and gets anyone and everyone who hears it moving in one way or another.
However, with each song coming to an end, the songs tick over tentatively, with the worry in the back of the mind that have they put all of the belters at the beginning to distract from a few ‘filler’ songs towards the middle and back of the album? As this thought entered our minds, the first taste of new, album exclusive material we get comes from The Blues. This song sets up the tone of the album, opening with a very electronic, yet gnarly bass thump combined with a falsetto vocal from Rob Damiani. One of the strengths Don Broco have always maintained is their willingness to experiment, as shown in this song, with a very simple guitar and bass line but a heavy amount of electronic backing fills out the sound and brings the additional eclectic taste to their sound, as evident in following track Tightrope.
Tightrope displays the ever-increasing vocal talents of drummer, Matt Donnelly with glorious and powerful harmonies. Tightrope easily has the power to be a stand out next single, a strong structure, a strong message and dynamic, as well as having the general appeal of a song that could not only appeal to someone on Capital or Radio 2, but wouldn’t go amiss on Scuzz either.
Porkies, a song which heavily focuses on lies and deceit, is almost a throwback to early EP and first album Broco writing, a very linear and organic approach with almost shouted vocals, dry, clean guitars and an upbeat bass focus coming from, dropping into a heavy breakdown, similar to that of Thug Workout. Of course, it wouldn’t be a new song if it didn’t have some kind of progression, so coming out of the breakdown, instead of a scream, there’s smooth and delicate vocal scales on display.
Here’s a sentence we thought we’d never say. The next song on the album, Got To Be You is a weird blend, if Bastille and U2 had a Bedford baby, it would be this song. Delaney’s guitar line is heavily soaked in an ambient reverb and delay is extremely reminiscent of U2’s Where The Streets Have No Name, as Damiani’s vocals and additional drums and percussion scream Bastille, it’s a combination we never thought of before, but it bloody well works!
As we draw towards the end of the album, Good Listener injects fast paced energy into the latter third of the album. Heavy and distorted guitars galore, a very Muse-esque solo and as much charisma and swagger you can swing a stick at, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see this soon become a set staple.
Something To Drink closes the album, a song that captures the struggles of relationships, anxiety and life and the use of drink to escape reality. This is this albums Nerve, a slower and very sentimental song with a lot of openings for interpretation and can be applicable to anyone, that being said, it is missing that hook that Nerve has, but closes the album out nicely, with the final words being uttered over an acoustic guitar, a simple, yet satisfying end.
Simply put, this album is the epitome of contemporary rock. A huge array of Pop elements, but equal amounts of inspiration from a Funk and Rock background results in this album and we may be pushing the boat out, but in 2018, Don Broco might be the only band that are able to release such an eclectic and diverse album such as this. You have your classic brash elements, Si Delaney and Tom Doyle continue to be prove they’re some of the most underrated and talented musicians on the planet, Donnelly gets more of a lead role with his vocals and Damiani continues to grow vocally and lyrically, whilst retaining a swagger only he possess. Is this the album that will get DB into stadiums and break the US? Time will tell, but what we can say is that with Technology, it presents a vast amount of opportunities due to the consistent growth and diversity they bring to the table and may very well be the album to push them into the mainstream.
Review: Adam Jones