ALBUM REVIEW : Don Broco - 'Automatic'

ALBUM REVIEW : Don Broco – ‘Automatic’

This ‘Don Broco’ article was written by Josh Hummerston, a GIGsoup contributor. Lead photo from Tom Barnes Photography

4*Considering Don Broco only have two albums under their belt, they possess the confidence and prowess of a band that has been around the block for decades, something that is effortlessly reflected in their most recent album ‘Automatic’.

Don Broco are quite clearly aiming for stars, and this album could quite easily project them into the stratosphere. The sound is big and unashamedly catchy brandishing a unique eighties pop rock sensibility that is called upon throughout the albums entirety. It is a sound that gives the impression that Don Broco have finally found their feet and in doing so have excelled in being the band that they should have always been. Although not a drastic departure from their previous album, ‘Priorities’, ‘Automatic’ seems to be evident of a band who have crafted a sharp and exciting brand of music undeniably stands out against the mass of pop rock bands that have inhabited the contemporary British music scene.

Album opener ‘Superlove’ assertively flaunts itself as a suggestion of what is to come as it dives headlong into a combination of energetic guitar, bass, percussion and the enigmatic vocal stylings of Rob Damiani. Comparitively ‘Superlove’ definitely seems like an attempt to distance themselves from their previous heavily distorted and aggressive past, seemingly seeing the band aim for a more radio friendly sound. This however, is by no means a bad thing. Don Broco unleash a salvo of polished and well crafted pop rock songs one after another, whilst still managing to retain an impressive focus upon instrumentation, a feature which often seems to elude some of the bigger Rock bands on the scene.

This can be evidenced on ‘Keep on Pushing’, in which Simon Delaney’s guitar motifs intertwine effortlessly with bassist Tom Doyles funky and animated phrasing. The track manages to provide a measure of the ablums consistent vitality and energy with an ostensibly funk inspired guitar riff that creates a strong and energetic backbone. This with vocalist Rob Domianis intermittent falsetto vocals, intertwine to further add to the eighties inspired ambiance. Damiani’s voice rises and falls seamlessly, providing much of the momentum and impetus for the majority of the album – sometimes adversely so. At points it becomes overindulgent instead of showcasing the musical talent and capabilities of the rest of the band. There are numerous points in the album where that talent is explicitly expressed but it seems somewhat restrained in comparison to the overpowering vocal powerhouse that is the Don Broco frontman. Despite this, Don Broco maintain a consistent standard in the delivery of their music, with various stand out and prominent moments that set them apart from their peers.

This is evident on ‘Nerve’. It is arguably one of the biggest sounding tracks on the album, despite every other song already sounding worthy of being able to fill any arena. It opens timidly with a steady percussive backbeat and soft vocals, gradually building until it erupts into a colossal and awe-inspiring chorus. However, even though the album may be applauded for its determination in avoiding treading the same ground twice in terms of the repetition of older material, it seems that a formulaic pattern soon emerges and it sometimes becomes difficult to distinguish one song from another. This being said, each song acts a standalone anthem that supplies catchy choruses and hooks that don’t fail to provide for a fun and entertaining listen despite an increasing sense of monotony.

With ‘Automatic’ Don Broco prove a force to be reckoned with. Their sound is one that has been gradually crafted over the years and seems to have finally found itself. ‘Automatic’ showcases the strong potential of Don Broco, delivering a multitude of great tracks that are both entertaining and enjoyable. It seems however, that in order for the band to progress, they must embrace a certain musical versatility that at present eludes them.

‘Automatic’ is out now on Sony Music Ent.

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