January 30, 2019 Broods – Don’t Feed The Pop Monster (Album Review)
Still one of the worthy purveyors of Synthpop in the current decade is Broods, which consists of Georgia Nott (lead vocals) and her brother Caleb (synthesizers, backing vocals). The 2013-formed, New Zealand–hailing duo released their debut album, Evergreen, in the ensuing year. They followed this up with 2016’s Conscious, after which they went on a hiatus to pursue respective solo projects.
Stylistically, the music of Broods harks to the soulfulness, breeziness, and finesse of pioneering ’80s-forming, Synthpop-classifiable groups such as Blancmange (“Lose Your Love”), Frazier Chorus (“Typical”), and Fiat Lux (“Blue Emotion”). In spite of this reference, the Nott siblings have, in all fairness, been able to update their music with the Techno advancements of the genre. They reunited in 2018 to work on new materials, resulting in their forthcoming album Don’t Feed The Pop Monster, out Friday, February 1, 2019 through Neon Gold/Atlantic Records.
Working once again with their longtime Producer Joel Little (Lorde, Imagine Dragons) and also enlisted Producers such as Tommy English (K.Flay), the album opens with the frenetic pulses of “Sucker.” The first of twelve songs, it swims and soars at the same time with Georgia’s impassioned vocals and the lavish instrumentation that carries her on its aural wings. Following in a similar pulse, albeit arrhythmic beat, is the sensuous “Why Do You Believe Me?” Then there is the album’s lead single, “Peach,” initially undulating like Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” and then building up into a percussive dancefloor stomper.
“Falling Apart” is altogether contemporary and nostalgic, sparse and layered; Georgia and Caleb’s duet singing serves as its highlight, making it a standout. Broods then turn the lights dim and the ambiance breezy but, with the galloping bass and tribal beats, keep the rhythm busy in the next track, “Everytime You Go”—another sure discotheque magnet. “Dust” is a change of style, as it strums its way out of the loudspeakers like an odd but faultless mix of ’80s and ’90s Post-Punk; think of The Pretenders (“Back on the Chain Gang”) and Garbage (“Stupid Girl”) sharing status in the same sentence.
Keeping things interest, Caleb then takes the lead vocals on “Too Proud,” making this an effective mid-album ear-catcher. The syncopated, spacey, and light-jazzy “To Belong” is also lovely and alluring with its subtle piano flourishes, lush vocal harmonies, and engaging thumps and heartbeats.
The next tracks—the playful, guitar-oriented “Old Dog” and the Alternative R&B funker “Hospitalized”—will fit well on a diverse Dance playlist that includes The Heart Throbs’ “Dreamtime,” Pop Will Eat Itself’s “Eat Me Drink Me Love Me Kill Me,” and Republica’s “Ready to Go.” The penultimate track, “Everything Goes (Wow)” is cheery, upbeat, fun, engaging, and uplifting; reverberating faint echoes of American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life.” Finally, Broods conclude Don’t Feed The Pop Monster with “Life After,” which starts acoustically and then progresses into becoming a starry, string-laden, seemingly French Indie Pop lullaby.
Don’t Feed The Pop Monster illustrates Broods’ success in marrying the classic and the modern aspects of Synthpop music—melodic and meticulous, yet loose and uncontrived. It also exhibits the siblings’ marked maturity in their musical approach and their willingness to broaden their sonic palette without losing their roots, character, and identity. Cryptic Rock gives Don’t Feed The Pop Monster 4 out of 5 stars.
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