The Bedford boys continue to break the mould with their ever expressive third album.
Just to clarify – I’m addicted. I’ve been listening to this album on loop since we were sent it. I will do my absolute best to keep a level head and critically assess this album just as I would any other release but god damn, this is hot.
To kick things off, well, we’ve already heard the first five tracks. This was a strange decision for me, when we finally get our mitts on that much-anticipated release we’ve waited months for we’re surely going to want to be hit with some brand-new material. Ok, sure, maybe not necessarily the album’s opener – after all, it’s understandable that when dropping singles, the artist is inclined to stir up hype with what may be deemed their ‘strongest’ material. However, five tracks in a row is a little excessive. Nonetheless, all five of these are straight fire and I certainly didn’t mind spinning them again before sinking my teeth into the remainder of the record. (For a more in-depth look at these aforementioned singles, be sure to check the website, you’d better believe that we’ve already covered them all.)
The Blues is a moody number that seems to employ elements from both of Broco’s previous full-length releases. A synthy intro, coupled with the falsetto of Rob Damiani, is certainly reminiscent of the overall sound from 2015’s Automatic, following this, the chorus offers up a different flavour that is arguably more akin to 2013’s debut – Priorities. The distorted guitar parts from Si Delaney sound intricate and despite being borderline staccato at points, the rhythmic funky flow that Donny B fans are accustomed to is maintained. Like a fair chunk of their music, this one is a bit of a grower. Comparably, ¥ is another track that adopts a slightly more mature vibe. The verse is poised and plods along into a pre-chorus that nods to the fact that things are about to pick up and, suitably, they do. These are undoubtedly great songs, they just fall slightly short of leaving that immediate thwack that certain other tracks impose on us listeners.
A brief yet innovative intro of synth (to maintain the whole Technology ethos) coupled with a twangy bass punch from Tom Doyle sees us into Tightrope. This track is all about the chorus – explosive and empowering – it’s a fantastic testament to the scale and scope of Don Broco’s setup. When this song lights up, I’m confident in saying that it would fill out Wembley Stadium, no problem. In a similar vein, Greatness boasts a tremendous chorus worthy of a sell-out crowd singalong and hip jig. Delaney’s guitar rig here is twatted up to full chunk mode and it sounds fat as fuck. Also, tubman Matt Donnelly bloody loves a cowbell – but then who doesn’t? It’s just another sprinkling of diversified timbre that offers something a bit fruitier for the listener. It’s little elements like this that keep us on our toes, both physically and metaphorically.
Of course, by now we’ve all heard Everybody and I’m really glad that it’s included in this record – it’s a riot and an absolute meme-fest. With this in mind, it’s time to discuss my two highlights from Technology: Porkies and Good Listener. The former of the two is a gritty and polemic attack on the current state of British politics and, as a fellow “traitorous hippie”, this is perhaps one of the first times that I feel as though Don Broco have a significant message to convey to the masses. They have a voice now and they’re using – “you’re telling porkies, little piggy” – it’s venomous and I love it. Not to mention the heavy riffage and growls from Damiani which further the cattiness of this track.
Good Listener harks back to the Thug Workout days in all the right ways. Every time I listen to this song I must look an absolute picture with a stupid smile plastered across my face. Despite the fact that the lyrics are a little comical at times, once again, there is a serious message that concerns the heightened surveillance that is has been plagued upon us through the perpetual advancement of, you guessed it, technology. The “oohs” in the chorus are utterly infectious. The riff is simple and does a fine job of manifesting right at the fore of your brain, there is nothing in this song that you can ignore. All of this, along with a scorching guitar solo and a refrain with ample time to spread the pit, Good Listener is pure and unapologetically stupid fun.
Got To Be You and Something To Drink are the more melancholic troughs of Technology. They offer up a nice change of pace and demonstrate that Don Broco’s new material isn’t entirely focussed on having a laugh. Got To Be You is a relatively pedestrian reflective love song – there’s nothing wrong with it but it’s one of the few tracks on the album that probably won’t be making it onto my playlists simply because it lingers on a little too long with an atmosphere that I can’t help but feel as though I’ve already heard. Something To Drink is a more rewarding listen. The wonderfully sulky musings of Damiani are something that we haven’t really heard before and, once again, we can hear the emotion in his vocals thanks to the deep bite that carries through the longer notes. An uplifting breakdown splits the song up nicely and ultimately, this is a mature and sophisticated end to an outstanding record.
Wrapping up this review, I must commend the frequent implementation of vocals from Donnelly. The lad has a terrific voice that we have been teased with in previous releases and it’s great to be able to hear it being exercised to its full capacity within Technology – he particularly shines on Come Out To LA and the album’s titular track. Long may this inclusion continue.
As I stated at the inception of this write-up, I’m infatuated with this album. So much so that I’ve done myself dirty – I’m already craving new music from Don Broco. I know, how greedy. However, credit to the band – they just continue to expand their sound and increase their notoriety in the music scene. Their success is entirely deserved, and I challenge anyone to show me a band that sounds similar to this wonderfully eccentric and individual outfit. A breath of fresh air and an utter triumph. You must listen to this album.