Review Summary: I wanna make you feel how I feel when I’m listening to love songs.
Hot on the heels of their excellent self-titled EP, Evergreen
arrives six months later as the evolution of Broods’ sleek brand of electronic indie pop. The Kiwi sibling duo Caleb and Georgia Nott have crafted another smart set of tunes brimming with easy hooks and pristine production, thanks in no small part to producer Joel Little (Lorde). To label them mere copycats, though, would be unfairly myopic. Broods distinguish themselves from the former via strong songwriting and Georgia’s wonderful singing voice. Evergreen
has its share of bangers, kicked off by ‘Mother and Father’ and ‘Everytime’; two upbeat tracks loaded with massive hooks and wicked melodies. Best of that bunch is ‘L.A.F.’, with its skittish rhythm that trips and stumbles and slams awkwardly into that soaring sugar high chorus in the most endearing way imaginable.
Fittingly though, Broods are at their best on the darker, brooding (“haha”) songs comprising the album’s true core. Georgia’s writing is, for the most part, of standard tropes – young love, heartbreak, yearning – but the presentation here takes them to a different space. Take ‘Killing You’ for example, a simple ‘wish you were here’ slow jam imbued with this super heavy emotional gravitas by her gorgeous vocal performance. ‘Killing You’ is rivalled only by the beatless ambience of ‘Medicine’, all swelling synths and reverb-washed harmonies that tedious adjectives can do no justice; suffice to say it’s one of their best pieces yet. Evergreen
’s second half is full of highlights. EP opener ‘Never Gonna Change’ returns here and again stands out, along with ‘Sober’, ‘Evergreen’, and ‘Four Walls’. ‘I’m trying hard to make you love me,’
Georgia sings on the latter, ‘but I don’t wanna try too hard’
. A simple sentiment, sure, but to hear it in the context of that song is to be transported back to that butterflies-in-the-stomach thrill of our first loves. This is exactly what I love about pop music: the giddy highs and pure escapism the best of it brings.
The one criticism that can be levelled at Evergreen
is its tendency to blur together in parts. The album is so polished I’m hesitant to call it rushed, but it feels a tad
underwritten at times due to a lack of diversity. The limited range of synth tones throughout render lesser tracks ‘Bridges’ and ‘Superstar’ somewhat redundant; inferior displays of ideas already executed better elsewhere. It’s a lesser case of that which plagued Chvrches’ The Bones of What You Believe
last year: nine songs’ worth of good ideas stretched out over eleven. Perhaps a few guitar-based tunes in the vein of Broods
’ superb ‘Taking You There’ would have alleviated this. Nevertheless, Broods own this style better than almost anyone in the genre and for the most part they absolutely nail it. With further refinement an indie pop classic is not beyond them. Evergreen
isn’t it, but if they continue at this rate it could be here sooner than we think.