Album Review - Don Broco: “Technology”

Don Broco’s third album see’s the band take a dramatic shift in style towards a more experimental but messy sound.

When Don Broco first released “Everybody”, I was one of many who were keen to hear the new direction the band would head in. The last two albums set an incredibly high bar for the Bedford four piece, with 2015’s “Automatic” allowing them to tour the US for the first time with State Champs and headline one of London’s biggest venues: Alexandra Palace. Through being more of a fan of Priorities, both albums were summer favourites of mine and seeing the advertising for Technology plastered in every rock-related magazine around had me intrigued to say the least.

The record first starts with the song of the same name, setting a thundering  tone for the album and brutal ending riff. Side A is filled with all the previously released singles such as “T Shirt Song”, “Stay Ignorant” and “Everybody”. These are all solid tunes, and although similar, set the standard for the album and giving a rough idea for the rest of the tracks. These songs have some of the most hard hitting riffs I’ve heard in some time, and we can even hear some influence from other genres with some songs adding in a wider range of effects and instruments. My favourite track off of the album, “Pretty”, shows the whole band at its best, with some of the best vocal hooks and use of synths in the release. “The Blues”, clearly influenced by the genre, is a track that strikes a good balance between the bands newer and older sounds. “Greatness” seems more influenced by both pop and funk, with a larger emphasis on vocal harmonies and some refreshing drum patterns and bass lines. When listening, it’s easy tell this is the bands most well produced and mixed album yet.

It’s from this song where everything just massively nosedives from the nearest cliff. “Porkies” see’s vocalist Rob Damiani change his vocal style to a more shouted grunt, and I’m still confused as to who in the band thought this was a good idea. This song also features some of the worst lyrics on the album, along with so much vocal distortion on the second verse that it becomes unclear to even understand. Earlier track “Come Out To LA” features a similar problem, copying melodies direct from what would seem like the current top 40 and butchering them. “Got To Be You” sets the tone for a much slower and melodic track for the album, but easily becomes forgettable.

“Good Listener” massively picks up this side of the album, featuring the catchiest hook and guitar solo of the whole release, although again plagued with awful lyrics:

“I’m talking to my mum and she asks what I’m having for tea. 

Then I turn my Google on, up it pops buy some chili con carne”.

 ”¥” has sees a return of what seems like random, hastily thrown in effects (looking at you, vocals) and random pop influences left right and centre. “Something To Drink” provides a slower, more ballad-like style coming from the drums and guitar work, and although this is a decent track, it again feels forgettable and uninspired. Annoyingly, both deluxe tracks “Blood In The Water” and “Potty Mouth” give the expanded version a saving grace, leaving me asking myself why these songs (especially “Potty Mouth”) were exempt from the original 14 track release.

Overall, this record puts Don Broco on odds to become one of the UK’s premier rock bands, but it feels like it’s all mostly coming from the cutting room floor. Am I fan of this album? At times. Does this really need to be 14 songs long? Definitely not. This album is all over the place with sounds and influences that seems to fit many genres but not really thrive in any. Dip into the singles, and leave the rest out of bounds.

Best Tracks:
 Technology, Pretty, Stay Ignorant
Worst Tracks: Come Out To LA, Porkies, ¥ , Something To Drink

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