22 October 2021
Don Broco have always been one of those bands that I will hear in passing and make a mental note to check out another time but never seem to find that moment, so it is with anticipation I sit down to review their upcoming album Amazing Things which will see the light of day on October 22.
Opener Gumshield quickly introduces itself as more than a weird name.
It is also a weird track, awash with instrumentalization and varied vocal delivery that sets the remainder of the album up for almost anything.
Part rap, part rock and at times threatening a metal sensibility that strangely would not be out of place, Gumshield ebbs and flows at a rhythmic pace despite its eclectic nature.
It’s almost as if Don Broco are throwing their entire hand in for the first pot, letting you know they are here to play and if you think you can outlast them then step up to the plate!
Slight breakdowns and a swirling mass of vocals sporadically weave their way into a track that already has me scratching my head, but strangely in a pleasing manner.
Then, as suddenly as it began, the track is over and the superbly titled Manchester Super Reds Number 1 Fan splutters to life with more of the same musical uncertainty of the preceding track.
Normally I would be reaching for the red button by now but feel strangely compelled to continue this unlikely journey into so many genres already that I have lost count.
It is as though genres have temporarily ceased to matter or exist, with electronics giving way to rap being overturned by rock and drowned out by pop all before metal decides to have a midnight snack and throw its weight around.
Swimwear Season begins with a late night ABC sounding landscape of almost mesmerizing proportions and staggers its way through more indecision that for all intents and purposes should have the opposite effect but make the album only more intriguing.
Fans of the band might already be on the same page as Don Broco but if this is a novel then I have started at Chapter 12 and zigzagged my way to an unknown conclusion without turning a page.
Dead set, it’s that out there.
Enorphins is the first track that makes me re-evaluate my new found interest in the intensely different, starting as if it wants to be a dreary love song before flashing with pulsating moments of life that lift the track out of the hole it seemed destined for. Washy vocals continue and my initial deer-in-the-headlights reaction is starting to show signs of a Tom Green massacre.
One True Prince starts with more ambience, a slightly distorted background sound offering hope for a heavier number and despite a promising – or possibly teasing – semi veer into rockier territory the song soon falls into more serenious vocals and static playing that leaves me wondering if Don Broco may have possibly played their hand too soon.
Moving on to Anaheim and yet another rainbow-like intro I am starting to feel maybe I’m not the right person for this review.
This isn’t my scene, and I would hate to tarnish someone else’s views that may be more in tune with music of this nature. This track seems to be going in reverse, a monotone delivery that goes nowhere in a hell of a hurry.
We all know that Uber drivers can’t drive for shit, so here’s hoping when Don Broco named a song after them they did so with the speed of a late pizza delivery.
More up beat than the last couple of offerings, Uber nonetheless too often reverts to a safer formula despite electronic intrusions that momentarily drown out the dreary.
Sometimes unpredictability can become predictable in itself and that seems to be the case here.
The music seems to be trying to be cleverer than what it actually is at times and over the course of a whole album begins to feel forced rather than haphazard.
How Are You Done With Existing flashes with subtle electronic undertones before the vocals kick in, and again it sounds like a rollercoaster on a flat track.
As in it goes nowhere.
We all love Bruce Willis so when the next track introduces itself bearing his monicker the hope returns that Amazing Things might turn out to be just that.
Thirty seconds in and it feels like already there are more guitars on this one track than the sum of all that came before it, and the angst in the vocal delivery makes me think Don Broco weren’t a fan of anything after possibly Die Hard 3.
Revenge Body kicks off all distorted and promising, but again reverts to the wishy-washy vocals that seem to punctuate most songs.
Again, I’m sure there is a market for this stuff and I’m not saying it’s bad, but I’m not personally convinced.
Reviewing this, as the next track promises, may be Bad 4 Your Health. I’m almost certain I will piss many people off with my take on Amazing Things and to them I say you didn’t have to sit through the entire thing.
It is definitely an exercise in attrition but there are enough moments to suggest Don Broco are a band of immense talent and imagination but maybe I’m just to set in my ways.
By the time Easter Sunday begins I realise I may have put all my eggs in one basket but more of the same only serves to emphasise the point that this album isn’t for me.
If, however, you are a fan of Don Broco – and I’m sure there are many – you will likely enjoy this collection of offbeat numbers.
It has a bit of everything but not enough of anything for my liking and I think we shall just leave things at that!