Don Broco
Technology


3.0
good

Review

by Simon.K CONTRIBUTOR (207 Reviews)
February 8th, 2018 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One for the laaaadddddsssss?

I’ve always had a curious spot for Don Broco. Typically, they aren’t a band I gravitate towards; their demeanour and general appearance would normally go as reasons why I’d overlook such a band, but overhearing a song like “Hold On” there’s just some things ignorance can’t ignore. Rob Damiani‘s airy voice is an acquired taste but it’d be foolish to squander an interesting riff or boisterous groove over something so small; which explains why I’m constantly in the middle of a tugging war when it comes to listening to their albums. They’re the type of band that will prosper, that much is clear, extending their hand to use a range of ingredients that will undoubtedly reach out and appeal to a wider audience. But it’s this coalesce that leads me to love one aspect of their work and cringe profusely at the next, sometimes all in the space of one song. Using “Hold On” as an example of Broco’s standard affair; it starts off irritatingly obnoxious with Rob’s nasally croons and semblance of arrogance – intentional or otherwise – that seeps onto the song, potentially turning off even the most patient and open-minded of listeners, but just before final judgement is made it shifts course into one hell of a catchy chorus. Underpinned by a confident rhythm section that squeezes the air from the free-flowing guitar parts with a punctuation of effective grooves and peppery drums. It’s a fantastic chorus and comes from out of nowhere.

This tug of emotions is a frequent occurrence, strokes of sheer genius and outright awfulness battle it out. The annoying thing is no one aspect outdoes the other, it’s always a fairly even fight and a clash of ideas that’s caused a common problem for the band since inception. There’s a lack of unification with song structure: a rather wonky tonal imbalance that blends pure British indie-rock with a flurry of sub-genres, styles that vary depending on the album you listen to. In a lot of ways these guys remind me of Enter Shikari, in the sense that they write songs in a near structure-free manner. Rules" There are no rules. Their debut album was littered with sprinklings of post-hardcore, rock and punk influence on top of their indie-rock racket, and it became a whirlwind of incoherent ideas at times. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t; but the important thing to remember is they had more to offer people before any plans of falling into obscurity. Automatic was a much more mature and less out there record, coaxing ‘80s pop and contemporary pop-punk with their linchpin sound. The result was far more cohesive and streamlined than their first attempt, but it didn’t feel anywhere near as interesting.

Three years on from their sophomore effort and one would hope they’d hone in on a more stable style, but the term “*** in one hand, wish in the other and see which comes first” is applicable here. Opening track “Technology” kicks the LP off to a good start; slamming right into a massive stadium-rock filling riff while Rob’s typically cocky swagger takes over the song. Yet to my surprise he didn’t present himself as irksome as normal, offering a great range of sounds to keep the song exciting, while the scratching acoustic strings and its hypnotic rhythmic pull at the verse, epic guitar swells, dreary piano parts and foot-tapping drum beats all bring their own uniquely different qualities and deliver a really solid song. Further positives come from the likes of “Tightrope” which contain some of the album’s hottest melodies, with the added support of the backing vocals serving up some grit to the performance, and an excellent cathartic aggression being released at the end of the song. It’s one of Rob’s finest moments here, and with the intense twilight being projected from the guitars, partnered with the guttural bottom-end of the rhythm section it ensures the music is as engaging as the vocals, and makes for one of the strongest numbers here. While “Y” is a great experimental track that fuses ‘80s synth, funk and glitch-electronic parts, interspersed with bright, chunky guitar chords to feed the powerhouse aesthetic of old and contemporary sounds.

Here’s the thing, I’ve never been entirely convinced these guys take themselves all that seriously. The lyrics and diction for this thing can be so bad at times it makes me wonder if they sat down to write the most satirical and cynical material they could conjure up; ripping into the usual party-hard clichés and trying to keep a straight face while doing it. You’ll hear Rob go on about asinine crap like visiting his nana or not liking things for tea, stuff that feels so out of place and arbitrary the only conclusion I can make is the band are trolling the listener. If it's true then I salute their attempts at it. However, regardless of whether my theory is true or not, it left me to roll my eyes on more than one occasion, and when you couple that with the bloated tracklist and disjointed compositions we’ve got problems. As I said earlier, songs have some really strong ideas, but there’s so much that goes wrong as well: the pulsating build-up from the bass in “Porkies” with its skeletal drums and sporadic guitar licks bring a decent moment to the album, but the auto-tune vocal section and constant shifting into different tones and parts without giving much time to digest them make as a fine example on why this band trip up so much. The vocals are so frustrating as well because he can really flex his abilities as a singer; using loads of really good melodies and harmonies to accommodate the epic soundscape the band largely offer, but then other times he’ll squash it by doing a dodgy rap or a really irritating elongated whine.

All of this unfortunately turns the album into a roller coaster ride and an exhausting experience by the time it’s finished. Technology is an album that takes two steps forward and one step back. It’s managed to successfully merge ideas from previous works, creating an interesting arsenal of sounds, but it forgot to add a cohesive flow to the mix. At 16 tracks this thing is way too long, but with all the scattered ideas its one that left me getting only a few standout moments from it and a few fragmented pieces of greatness from the rest. This record had the potential to elevate the band creatively. It’s different, I’ll give them that, but off its own merits it just doesn’t show any growth this time, and that’s a shame because you can hear the talent and the potential underneath it all. Here’s hoping they put an emphasis on focus for the next album and knock it out of the park.

Good.

EDITION: DIGITAL//C̶D̶//V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A



Recent reviews by this author
Iglooghost Clear TameiAkira Yamaoka Silent Hill Origins
Crossfaith Ex_MachinaOtep Kult 45
Spaceslug Eye the TideScars on Broadway Dictator
user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.5
great
related reviews

Priorities


Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It was difficult rating this. I'm leaning more towards a 2.7, but hey, it's an interesting listen.

Digging: Iglooghost - Clear Tamei

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


8768 Comments


Holy Review Batman : ]

NorwichScene
February 8th 2018


2598 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I feel similar, never really liked these guys before. This has some quality moments though. They definetly don’t take themselves too seriously. Chilli con carne

SweeneyTodd
February 8th 2018


1667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"You’ll hear Rob go on about asinine crap like visiting his nana or not liking things for tea, stuff that feels so out of place and arbitrary the only conclusion I can make is the band are trolling the listener."



you appear to have missed the context of this song, the line goes "So I'm talking to my mum and she asks what I'm having for tea, then I turn my Google on, up it pops, rice and chili con carne, I really don't like it"



the song is about his phone listening in to his conversations, running with the albums theme of technology. he noticed if he talked about certain things, his phone would start displaying ads for these things. mine does it too, it's like we already live in black mirror.



other than some confusion over lyrics, sweet review, these guys don't take themselves seriously at all, they're in the same sort of boat as Enter Shikari, they could do a song about a serious subject, but fill it with humour. their music videos solidify the fact these guys are doing this for fun

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


14004 Comments


namedropping enter shikari like that is risky business mate


Digging: Hopesfall - Arbiter

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

haha! I was hoping you'd read this review mort ;)

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


14004 Comments


tbh i think you were pretty spot on with the review

i went back and listened to hold on and damn, that song is fun

listened to some of the singles from this as they came out too and my memory matches up pretty well with what you said

mind pos

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2018


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cheers buddy.



@Sweeney



Aye, as I say, they felt way too off centre to be serious. But regardless, they are way too goofy for me and damage songs.

SweeneyTodd
February 8th 2018


1667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Aye, as I say, they felt way too off centre to be serious. But regardless, they are way to goofy for me and damage songs"



fair enough I get what you mean

Omeggia
February 8th 2018


198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is like 4-6 songs longer than it needed to be but highly catchy and enjoyable none the less



if you ever have time to check out the music videos the band made to promote this it becomes evident pretty quickly how tongue in cheek the whole affair is, got a few bewildered laughs out of me here and there too





Moksha
February 8th 2018


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

your rating is wrong!

schoonda
February 8th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Loved their debut, their sophomore had its moments but wasn't nearly as consistent as it's predecessor. Great review, it really sums up the band well, it seems to be decently received here so I might have to give this one a listen

Digging: The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I

schoonda
February 8th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty interesting listen, there are so many songs that start off really poorly and then just 180 and turn into something special, like you described with Hold on. Could probably drop 3 or 4 tracks, definitely will give this a few more spins.

MasterSplinter
February 9th 2018


22 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Completely agree with you. Too many tracks, with some being great and some being awful. Hopefully their next album will learn from these mistakes.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2018


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks guys. Yeah, it has a lot of potential that isn't fully realised. Shame.



"Y" is an absolute banger though.

derin082
February 11th 2018


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album jams alllllll the way through. it seems you had pre misconceptions of the band before you heard this album and thats a shame. these guys are putting out absolute bangers and having a blast. and thats ok!

schoonda
February 11th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

T-Shirt Song is probably the best thing here, also rate Got To Be You, its getting ragged on but really like the delivery of that track, Rob can sing, no question there.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2018


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@derin082



I think you're missing the point. I had no preconceptions, I was merely hoping for a new album with a little cohesion. There's some great songs here, but an equal amount of bad ideas. Had this thing been more focused, it could have been a belter.

schoonda
February 12th 2018


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

you're allowed to have an opinion on an album without preconceptions, there's nothing wrong with that.

SweeneyTodd
February 12th 2018


1667 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

""Y" is an absolute banger though."



easily my favourite track, the band have said its called "Yen", thats what the symbol means anyways



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy