On Tuesday, March 15, it was announced that British rock band, Don Broco, would be supporting Australian rock band, 5 Seconds of Summer, from Friday, April 15 to Wednesday, June 8, on the Sounds Live Feels Live World Tour, and following that, the band are going on a UK nationwide tour in July and August, where they will playing both their 2012 album Priorities, and 2015 album Automatic in full.
The band, from Bedford, England, are a curious mix of genres. Level 42, especially with the power of work done on bass, occasionally come to mind. Like, for instance, with their mutual slap bass and jazzy funk lick moments. Then there’s the dissonance and power of the guitar, emulating more recent sounds in the likes of the world of heavy metal. So that’d be pop, jazz, funk and rock melded into one band.
They, daresay, get a bit of a hard time from the rock and metal communities for their unabashed and unashamed delving into precision pop hooks and tuneful backing vocals, whilst deploying bouncy and heavy chords that urge to mosh and slam dance. For this reviewer it’s a mark of a diverse band, rather than one selling out in pursuit of that fat pay cheque.
Take “Money Power Fame”, our introduction to the band, for instance. It’s crushing, with powerful dissonance and that huge click and ring of the bass. The verses are calm but the pre choruses really build up for the main thing. The middle section builds for a climax and key change. Very satisfying.
Furthermore, there’s “You Wanna Know”, which’s of a similar vein to the previous, and maybe even better. There’s a processed guitar loop that introduces the song proper; again, with distorted, rather triumphant, guitar. The verses are calm, relatively, though with busy and intricate bass. The latter is definitely a hallmark of their sound, at least definitely for the album it features on. Another trait is the backing vocals, massive and really giving power to their sound. The middle section is brooding, atmospheric with guitar.
“Superlove”, on the other hand, is just, to put it mildly, mental. This is more of a pop effort, yet is a credible stab at funk rock. The uber busy bass really takes centre stage in this one. There is a rocky pre chorus, followed by a catchy and infectious chorus sung almost in falsetto. There are some mentally fiddly riffs going on, like jazzy funk licks. Absolutely superb drumming in this one. The middle section is interesting but brief. Jazzy funk comes in, again, for the abrupt conclusion.
“Automatic”, slightly similar to the previous, is a real earnest number, and maybe more in the pop funk realm than that of anything much rock and roll per se. Akin to the previous track in approach and genre, it however probably isn’t as upbeat. It does have a bit more moody and rocking intensity, particularly for the chorus.
The bass, again, is prominent; seemingly, primarily, playing guitar chords during the verses and filling out the song nicely. The backing vocals really give the song a kick in the vocal department. The middle section is really moody, with good dynamics to let parts ring out and permeate.
“Whole Truth” is from their debut, 2012’s Priorities, and not like the other tracks included in this feature that appear on their most recent, sophomore effort, Automatic. The chorus is a catchy one, and the scratchy guitar riff really reinforcing that tuneful chorus. What does carry on from this to their more recent work is that tight rhythm section, true chemistry between drum and bass. The middle section is basically the chorus played clean, almost acoustic, and works quite well. The ending is an abrupt one.
This band cover all bases with this selection. “Money Power Fame” and “You Wanna Know” are the tunes to rock out to, whilst “Superlove”, and “Automatic” are the tunes you can dance to. “Whole Truth”, on the other hand, is a mixture of the two; a bit more straight forward rock song, and with pop hooks but little of the jazzy funk thing going on. The latter probably only really kicks in come their second, and latest, album.
To me, the band are the complete package, in that every member excels in what they do. I have, in fact, noticed this band will be playing almost 150 miles away from where I live, and I am dying to see them when they come this near enough to my hometown. To find out more of their live dates, click here.
You can buy Don Broco’s 2015 album, Automatic, here. Note that “Money Power Fame” and “You Wanna Know” only appear on the deluxe version. Keep tabs on Don Broco on Facebook, Twitter and their website.
Words by Andrew Watson